The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced changes to their media relations policy following their decision to “step back” as senior royals.
“Their sincere hope is that this change in media policy will enhance access and give the Duke and Duchess the ability to share information more freely with members of the public,” their website reads.
Harry and Meghan say they hope the new policy will help prevent misreporting and can allow them to share information to the public through their official communication channels.
On Wednesday, the couple announced they would be splitting their time between the UK and North America and aim to become financially independent as they step back from royal duties.
A section on their website takes the form of questions and answers explaining their new policy.
How will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex handle media relations in the future?
In the spring of 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work. This adjustment will be a phased approach as they settle into the new normality of their updated roles.
This updated approach aims to:
- Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists
- Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage
- Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events
- Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels
- No longer participate in the Royal Rota system.
What is the “Royal Rota” system?
The Royal Rota was established more than 40 years ago as a way of giving UK print and broadcast media exclusive inside access to the official engagements of members of the Royal Family.
Under this system, the rota, or pool, gives these British media representatives the opportunity to exclusively cover an event, on the understanding that they will share factual material obtained with other members of their sector who request it.
The current system predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age.
The core group of UK outlets with Royal Rota access remain the predominant news sources through which worldwide media organisations receive content on the official engagements of members of the Royal Family.
Why have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex elected to change their media policy now?
The Duke and Duchess have chosen to revise their media policy to reflect both their forthcoming change as members of the Royal Family with financial independence, and their wish to reshape and broaden access to their work.
What is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s stance on media in general?
The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.
They have both collaborated with media organisations including: Time Magazine, National Geographic, The Daily Telegraph, British Vogue, and various others.
Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate.
Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.
Will they continue to have a social media platform?
Yes, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to have a social media platform. They look forward to continuing their use of social media and believe that their updated media approach will enable them to share more, with you, directly.
The current structure makes it challenging for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public (via social media for example), without first going through the filter of the Royal Rota.
Is this change of policy being adopted by other members of the Royal Family?
The changes outlined above apply to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son, Archie.
They do not speak on behalf of the other members of the Royal Family in regards to their media relations policies.