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British female MPs sign open letter to Meghan condemning ‘outdated, colonial undertones’ of press coverage

Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Seventy-two female MPs have written to the Duchess of Sussex to express their solidarity with her in the face of the “outdated, colonial undertones” which appear against her and her family in the press.

The parliamentarians, from across the political spectrum, said they supported her in “taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in a number of our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family.”

Stories and headlines had sometimes “sought to cast aspersions about your character, without any good reason as far as we can see,” the letter added.

“Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories,” the MPs continued, adding that this could not “be allowed to go unchallenged.”

They added that they shared “an understanding of the abuse and intimidation” used against women in public-facing positions.

The signatories include the Labour MPs Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy and Holly Lynch, Conservative MPs Tracey Crouch and Antoinette Sandbach, Layla Moran of the Liberal Democrats and Joan Ryan of Change UK. In total, they account for more than one-third of the 208 women in the House of Commons.

Lynch posted the letter on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, writing that women MPs from all parties had put aside their differences “to stand in solidarity with the Duchess of Sussex.”

The MPs rounded off their letter by calling on the press to respect an individual’s right to privacy and to stop “seeking to tear down a woman down for no apparent reason.”

Their comments come after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke of the strain press coverage was causing them in an ITV documentary earlier this month.

Meghan said that she had really tried to adopt a “stiff upper lip” attitude, but confessed that it was “internally … probably really damaging”.

Both Harry and Meghan have recently brought legal proceedings against British newspapers.

At the start of October, Harry started legal action against the owners of The Sun and The Mirror for alleged phone hacking dating back to the early 2000s. Meanwhile, Meghan is suing The Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter she had sent to her father.

Hillary Clinton recently criticized the “inexplicable” treatment of Meghan by British media. In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine published on October 13, Clinton said she believed Meghan’s mixed race heritage was “certainly part of it,” adding: “If the explanation is that she’s biracial, then shame on everybody.”

A royal source previously told CNN that the pair will take some “family time” off from around mid-November once they have completed their current run of engagements and commitments.

This story has been corrected to clarify when the royal couple will take a break from official duties.

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