How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Were Covered by U.S. Media During High Stakes Lawsuit

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were reported on more negatively than positively during a week in which a lawsuit and a series of public appearances went head-to-head, according to research for Newsweek.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke at online summits about social media trolls, the press and paid family leave before appearing at Veterans Day events earlier this month.

However, lurking in the background throughout was a Court of Appeal hearing in London from a tabloid privacy and copyright lawsuit Meghan brought against The Mail on Sunday.

Armed with Meghan's private messages, handed over by the same aide who accused her of bullying in 2018, the newspaper forced the duchess into an apology for misleading the court.

Mainstream media reports in the U.S. from November 9 to November 15 were 62 percent negative, 13 percent neutral and 24 percent positive, according to research by data analysis firm Zignal Labs for Newsweek.

The U.K. media was more flattering over the same period with 33 percent of mentions coded as positive, 52 percent coded as negative and 15 percent neutral.

The company recorded almost 38,000 mentions of the couple across both mainstream and online, including social, media.

Positive coverage included articles about Harry and Meghan's in-person visit to Intrepid Museum's Salute to Freedom Gala when the duchess's red dress caught the eye of many a headline writer, on Wednesday, November 10.

The event was the single biggest for mentions across all sources, triggering 10,000 on that day alone.

The event appeared to outshine the lawsuit across all sources, with 726 mentions including the phrases "Court Case" or "Privacy Case" over the week.

Within the mainstream media specifically, many U.S. outlets, including The Washington Post, CNN, CBS and NBC, among others, reported on Meghan's apology for misleading the court in London.

It came after her lawyers had denied she co-operated with the authors of the biography Finding Freedom but emails given to the court showed she authorized Jason Knauf to give detailed information to the authors.

In a 20-page witness statement, Meghan wrote: "I did not have the benefit of seeing these emails and I apologize to the Court for the fact that I had not remembered these exchanges at the time.

"I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead [The Mail on Sunday] or the Court.

"In fact, had I been aware of these exchanges at the time of serving the Re-Amended Reply, I would have been more than happy to refer to them as I feel they strongly support my case."

Other stories from the case included an account Meghan gave of Prince Harry being "berated" by the royal family over Thomas Markle's public criticisms.

The couple also visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehust, in New Jersey, on Veterans Day.

Meghan joined The New York Times DealBook online summit where she promoted her campaign for paid family leave on Tuesday, November 9.

Prince Harry told Re:Wired how he warned Twitter about the Capitol Riots in an email the day before they happened but did not get a reply.

Online media, including posts on Twitter, blogs and forums, proved more favorable than mainstream media with positive mentions making up 45 percent in America and 34 percent in Britain while both countries recorded 29 percent negative mentions.

The situation is a flip from September when online media was the more critical forum.

Since then, data analysis firm Bot Sentinel has carried out research into a Meghan online hate network in which 70 percent of posts came from 83 accounts.

A number have been shut down since the company started posting information on what it said were inauthentic accounts.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Visit Intrepid
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on November 10, 2021 in New York City. The same day, the court of appeal released Meghan's private messages. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images