Prince Harry Scolds Reporter in Malawi Hours Before Announcing Lawsuit Against British Tabloids
By Jackie Willis
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Prince Harry was not open to taking questions after a visit to the Mauwa Health Centre on Tuesday in Blantyre, Malawi.
After the 35-year-old Duke of Sussex greeted people at the facility, he and palace officials were followed by photographers and journalists to their cars. Sky News royal reporter Rhiannon Mills began to inquire about the prince's visit to the hospital as he went to get into his vehicle, and it became clear very quickly that the royal wasn't keen on answering her.
"That short conversation, what do you hope to achieve through it?" Mills asked. "What? Ask them," Harry replied.
Mills asked a follow-up question, "Is that why it's important for you to come and talk to them?"
Clearly agitated, the duke responded, "Rhiannon, don't behave like this."
While Harry wasn't keen on talking to reporters about his visit to the Mauwa Health Centre, he did post about his time in Malawi on Instagram.
"This morning, the Duke visited the Mauwa Health Centre which brings life-saving and essential care to this remote community," he shared on the Sussex Royal's Instagram. "By making even basic medical supplies available, used and stored correctly in remote areas like this is life-saving."
Harry's uncomfortable interaction with the press came moments prior to news breaking that the duke and his wife, Meghan Markle, are pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers -- owners of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, Metro and more -- after the Mail on Sunday published a private, handwritten letter that Meghan wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
"As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world -- on every level -- we have never needed responsible media more," Harry said in an official statement on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences -- a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son."
For Harry, the issue is deeply personal. His mother, Princess Diana, was hounded by the British press throughout her life and was fleeing paparazzi attention when she died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.
"Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself," his statement concluded. "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. We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it."
Katie Nicholl, ET's royal expert, expounds on why the couple decided to take legal action. "When you consider what is at the root of this statement, at the root of this legal action, it all comes back to Thomas Markle," Nicholl says of Meghan's father. "That is what this complaint is about, that Thomas Markle gave a private letter to the Mail on Sunday and one wonders if this really is the nail in the coffin as far as Meghan’s relationship with her estranged father is concerned. It really seems that while taking legal action."
Nicholl adds, "It really seems that given that they are taking legal action, Meghan’s [relationship] with her father really is now beyond repair."
Here's more on the couple's lawsuit against the British tabloids: