Harry and Meghan defend decision to quit as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to restrict the national press’s access to their official engagements, at the same time as insisting they believe in a free and open media.

The couple’s new website launched an attack on the UK’s newspapers which coincided with their shock announcement they were quitting as senior royals.

In its media section, Sussexroyal.com criticised Britain’s royal correspondents and said it would no longer participate in the “royal rota” system which has been used by Buckingham Palace for decades.

The royal rota gives accredited correspondents on UK national newspapers and broadcasters access to royal engagements on a pooled sharing basis to ensure maximum press coverage with minimum disruption to the engagement itself.

It cites the UK media outlets as The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times and The Sun.

Other media have access via the royal rota such as news agencies, including PA, photographers and broadcasters.

The new approach, which will begin in the spring, will deny the automatic access to royal correspondents, and focus instead on social media, “credible outlets”, specialist media, grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists.

“Britain’s royal correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives,” the website said.

“This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.

“Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by royal correspondents are also often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.”

It added: “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.”

Outlining Harry and Meghan’s stance on media, it said: “The duke and duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.”