Tonight it has emerged that The Duchess of Sussex is suing the Mail on Sunday, after they printed a private letter she sent to her father. A statement from Prince Harry wholly supports the move, comparing the situation to the media harassment that his mother, Diana Princess of Wales experienced.
Meghan has filed a claim against Associated Newspapers, the parent company of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, for misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” The Duke of Sussex writes in a statement on the couple’s website.
The publication of a letter that Meghan sent to her father, Thomas Markle, was passed from Mr Markle to the paper. Harry and Meghan claim it was published in an “intentionally destructive manner” to “manipulate” and to “further the divisive agenda” of the newspaper.
The legal representation for the Duchess, Schillings, said: “We have initiated legal proceedings against the Mail on Sunday, and its parent company Associated Newspapers, over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex, which is part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband. Given the refusal of Associated Newspapers to resolve this issue satisfactorily, we have issued proceedings to redress this breach of privacy, infringement of copyright and the aforementioned media agenda”.
The press has been criticised for bias against the couple, and particularly the Duchess, who only married into the family 18 months ago. Harry released a statement back in 2016 when it emerged the pair were dating accused the press of racism and sexism.
Prince Harry claims readers were misled by the newspaper “strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year”.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.,” writes Harry. “Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper.
“Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations – something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.
“It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making. The positive coverage of the past week [on the couple’s tour of southern Africa] from these same publications exposes the double standards of this specific press pack that has vilified her almost daily for the past nine months; they have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave. She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.”
Harry goes further to support his wife: “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.
“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.
“We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.”
The legal case is being privately funded by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex; if they are successful and win damages, the proceeds will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.