Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been through thick and thin in the four years they've been together. From the moment they started dating in July 2016, they've had a storybook romance. But with their high profile romance also came plenty of heartbreaking media headlines they had to confront head on. All the times Meghan and Harry clapped back at rumors prove they'll always fight for their relationship.
When Prince Harry announced his relationship with Meghan, royal fans were thrilled to see he had finally found forever love. However, tabloid rumors quickly followed after news of Meghan and Harry's engagement in November 2017. Despite endless gossip surrounding their relationship, the pair practiced their best "British stiff upper lip" leading up to their May 2018 marriage and all through Meghan's pregnancy.
Many of the attacks on Meghan's character seemed to be racially motivated, including the constant comparisons between Kate and Meghan. In many headlines, while the women were doing the same things — like cradling their growing baby bumps while pregnant — Meghan was often painted negatively, while Kate was praised.
Over time, the couple began to stick up for themselves more and more in a fight against the rumor mill.
1. July 2019: No Neighbor Nonsense
Shortly after The Sun ran a story claiming Meghan and Harry set guidelines for their neighbors at Frogmore Cottage such as, “Don’t approach or instigate conversation if you see the Royal couple,” “Don’t pet or stroke their dogs, even if they come over to you” and “Don’t ask to see baby Archie," the pair spoke out.
“The Duke and Duchess had no knowledge of this briefing and no involvement in the concept or the content,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told The Daily Mail. “This was a well-intentioned briefing to help a small local community know how to welcome two new residents and help them with any potential encounter.”
2. October 2019: Harry's Wise Words
By October 2019, Harry had clearly had enough of the constant gossip surrounding his wife and took legal action against some British tabloids.
The final straw came when The Mail leaked a private letter Meghan wrote to her father Thomas Markle, the couple took action together, suing the Mail on Sunday for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy. Meghan's lawyers claim The Mail removed paragraphs from her letter to portray her in a bad light.
Harry released a powerful statement about the move on their Sussex website, writing:
There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level ... My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.
3. October 2019: Meghan's Reality
Meghan spoke from the heart during an ITV interview in October 2019 where she opened up about living under the constant scrutiny of the British tabloids — especially while she was pregnant.
"Look, any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,'' she said. "And then when you have a newborn, you know? ... It's a lot, so you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, it's...well, I guess I also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK. But it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."
4. January 2020: Going Their Own Way
Meghan and Harry announced their decision to step back as senior royals in January 2020, and rumors quickly swirled that part of the reason was because of Prince William's "bullying behavior" towards Meghan. Harry and William fought back following the stories, and released a joint statement that put the rumors to rest.
"Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge," spokespeople for Harry and William said. "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."
5. April 2020: Goodbye, Tabloids
In April 2020, Meghan and Harry made their biggest move yet: They officially cut ties with four British tabloids in a powerful way. Meghan and Harry sent a letter to editors at The Sun, Daily Mail, Mirror, and Express which stated they will no longer engage with any of the publications.
Their reasoning was that stories in the past about Meghan and Harry which the Sussexes claimed were "distorted, false, or invasive." In Meghan and Harry's letter cutting ties with the British tabloids, they explained that their decision was not about avoiding valid criticism and expressed their belief in the free press.
"[This is] not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting," their statement read. "Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”