“It’s history repeating itself,” the actor told Who magazine of the way media has been trolling the Duchess of Sussex over the past few weeks. “She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was.”
He added, “We’ve seen how that ends,” alluding to the car accident that claimed the life of the princess in 1997. A formal inquest into the crash found aggressive paparazzi photographers were partly responsible for the incident.
Clooney made the comments while in Australia promoting his new Hulu series Catch-22 and after being asked whether he expects to be named godfather to Markle’s baby, due in April. He quickly dismissed the rumour, jokingly saying he has enough “s**t to deal with” as the father of twins.
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The late Princess Diana, who married Prince Charles in 1981, was the subject of constant criticism by media organizations.
A paparazzo once told Diana that he would “be there every day of your life until you’re dead and then I’ll be filming your grave,” according to her brother Charles Spencer. At one time, according to Time, the princess was the most photographed person in the world, and a photo of her would fetch up to $656 thousand.
At the time of her death, several U.K. tabloids were reporting extensively on her rumoured new relationship with Dodi Fayed, the son of an Egyptian billionaire. He was one of three other passengers in the car with Diana when she was killed.
Since their mother’s death, Prince Harry and Prince William have been very open about their distrust of the media.
“I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying in the backseat of the car,” Harry said in an interview for the BBC documentary, Diana, 7 Days. “William and I know that. We’ve been told that numerous times by people that know that that was the case.”
The media’s treatment of Markle has not been unlike what Diana experienced, as Clooney noted.
Since Markle and Prince Harry began dating, the duchess has been subject to media scrutiny about everything from her ‘messy’ bun to her troubled relationship with her father.
In 2016, Prince Harry released a statement addressing the treatment of then-girlfriend Markle, citing “the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
More recently, reports of feuding between Markle and her sister-in-law Kate Middleton have been widespread. “There have been threats of violence,” said The Times in a recent editorial, which pleaded for an end to the “vile abuse” of both women.