Walking the line. Prince William has always had a complicated relationship with the U.K. media after growing up in the limelight — but he very rarely discusses it.
The Prince of Wales knows that being in the public eye comes with his royal duty. But, unlike his brother, Prince Harry, who has claimed on numerous occasions that the U.K. press hounded his family and wife Meghan Markle, William has been much more tight-lipped about his experiences.
“To see this institutional gaslighting … They were happy to lie to protect my brother,” Harry alleged of The Firm and the press in a December 2022 first look at volume 2 of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan. “They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”
The former military pilot — who stepped back from his senior royal duties in 2020 — has pointed fingers at his family and the media for allowing Meghan to be berated and attacked from the moment the pair began dating.
Meghan, for her part, claimed in the Netflix teaser that the couple was “fed to the wolves” following their May 2018 nuptials.
William, who is second in line to the British throne, doesn’t appear to share all of his sibling’s same grievances with the U.K. press. He has, however, spoken out in support of his loved ones, including wife Princess Kate, when the media has overstepped in the past.
In January 2007, William made a rare public gesture to protect his then-girlfriend, asking the press to “stop” harassing the fellow University of St. Andrews alum. “The situation is proving unbearable for all those concerned,” the statement read via Kensington Palace.
When the couple got engaged in fall 2010, William told ITV News that he was “massively” protective of Kate. He noted that he chose to wait to propose in case she wanted to “back out” amid all of the pressure that comes with being a royal.
“The people around home are very supportive [of] us. Those are the people that really matter to us,” the Princess of Wales said at the time when asked about how she dealt with the scrutiny. “You can only be true to yourself. You sort of have to ignore a lot of what’s said. You have to be yourself.” (The couple tied the knot in April 2011 and have since welcomed three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.)
More than a decade later, William slammed BBC for allowing unethical tactics to be used in coercing his late mother, Princess Diana, to give her infamous 1995 Panorama interview. The tell-all unveiled secrets about the royals and featured Diana giving rare comments about her ex-husband King Charles III’s affair with Queen Consort Camilla.
“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” the future king of England said in a May 2021 statement. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”
He added: “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to [my mom’s] fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”
Scroll down to see more of William’s unfiltered comments about the U.K. press and navigating the spotlight: