'There was no way' Meghan Markle was going to get 'protection' until Prince Harry proposed, says former royal press spokesman

In the Netflix docuseries the Duchess of Sussex said she believed things would 'get better'

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The treatment of Meghan Markle by the media when she first started her relationship with Prince Harry was to be expected, says the Queen’s former press secretary.

Dickie Arbiter worked as the late Queen Elizabeth II’s press spokesman from 1988 until 2000, and told GB News “there was no way” the Duchess of Sussex would get any protection “before that person become part of the establishment.”

Speaking about the press coverage of her, Meghan said: “At that point, I was still very much believing what I was being told, which was ‘it will pass it will get better, it’s just what they do right at the very beginning.

“This promise of ‘once you’re married, don’t worry, it’ll get better, once they get used to you it’ll get better, of course it’ll get better’.

“But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still going to find a way to destroy me,” Meghan added.

Talking to GB News Royal Reporter Cameron Walker, Mr Arbiter said the press activity around the Duchess of Sussex was to be expected.

“All the women have been pursued relentlessly. Diana was pursued relentless before she got engaged, and once she got engaged it was brought in house and there was an element of protection.

"That happens before the engagement takes place because there’s no way that Scotland Yard or the Home Office is going to provide any form of protection or safeguards until that person becomes part of the establishment. It’s a historic thing. It’s also financially controlled.”

He added: “All these women did survive and have survived and are doing incredibly well.

The Queen's former Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter
The Queen's former Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter

Episode two of Harry & Meghan looked at some of the headlines in the UK tabloid press ahead of Kensington Palace’s statement on the media’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex.

They included “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton”.

Meghan said: “Firstly, I’m not from Compton, I’ve never lived in Compton, so it’s factually incorrect. But why do you have to make a dig at Compton?”

Other headlines shown in the Netflix documentary are “One’s gone GanstER”, and another saying Meghan’s ancestors were a “tailor, a teacher and a cleaner in racially divided Jim Crow South”.

The Duke of Sussex said: “Eight days after the relationship became public I put out a statement calling out the racist undertones of articles and headlines that were written by the British press as well as outright racism from those articles across social media.”