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Hugh Grant sides with Prince Harry, claiming 'the tabloids effectively murdered his mother'

Hugh Grant attends The Irishman International Premiere and Closing Gala in Leicester Square on October 13, 2019 in London, England.
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Key Points
  • The actor is lambasting British media criticism of Prince Harry's move to spend more time out of the U.K.
  • "The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother. Now they're tearing his wife to pieces," Grant said.

Hugh Grant is defending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to spend more time out of the U.K. and is lambasting criticism of the move in the British media.

Appearing on U.S. radio station Sirius XM to promote his latest movie "The Gentleman," Grant was asked by host Andy Cohen how he felt about the decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to spend more time in North America.

He initially deflected the question, after Cohen asked: "What are your feelings on Megxit?" but then explained in a video posted on YouTube by Sirius XM on Tuesday: "I'm rather on Harry's side I have to say. The tabloid press effectively murdered his mother. Now they're tearing his wife to pieces. I think, as a man, it's his job to protect his family, so I'm with him."

Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi through a Paris highway tunnel in 1997. Although the paparazzi were widely blamed for the accident, an investigation later found that the driver of the car had well over the legal level of alcohol in his blood.

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Harry and Meghan announced their decision to "step back" as senior members of the royal family on Jan. 8, and said they would no longer take part in the "Royal Rota" system, which gives royal event access to a handful of British newspapers that then distribute the news to other outlets.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is suing British tabloid The Mail on Sunday for publishing a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. The duchess accuses the paper of misusing her private information, breaching copyright and selective editing.

A BBC report said Wednesday that The Mail on Sunday rejects the claims made by the duchess and said there was "huge and legitimate" public interest in publishing her letter.

Grant is no stranger to battles with the press, having settled a phone-hacking claim against British publisher Mirror Group Newspapers in 2018 after his voicemails were intercepted over a 10-year period. He has since become well-known for his campaigns against media intrusion and is on the board of Hacked Off, which campaigns for a "free and accountable press."

Cohen asked Grant how his own relationship with the tabloid press is now. "Very poor," he replied. He also accused the tabloids of inventing sources.

"When they say in those articles 'a close friend' said or 'a palace insider,' there's no such person. It's all entirely invented."