Image Credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage
Given the role that the British tabloids and paparazzi played in Princess Diana’s death, it is not surprising that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are taking a stand against the negative media campaign that has persisted against Duchess Meghan Markle. Initially, Markle filed suit against The Daily Mail and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, over an allegedly unlawful publication of a private letter that she wrote to her father in its Mail on Sunday publication. Her claims include misuse of private information, copyright infringement, and breach of U.K.’s Data Protection Act of 2018.
Along with the announcement of this lawsuit, Prince Harry has issued a personal statement about the reasons behind filing the lawsuit. In this statement, Prince Harry accuses the media of engaging in bullying. He states that “the contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question.” He then points to the way in which the letter was published, including the omission of select paragraphs and specific sentences, as evidence of the publication’s efforts to mislead its readers.
Prince Harry references his mother’s struggle with the British press, and likens her experience to that of his wife’s. He says that his biggest fear is “history repeating itself.” In a brutally honest call to end what he perceives as a bullying campaign against his wife, Prince Harry says: “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commonditised 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.”
The Duke and Duchess are personally funding the lawsuit against the Mail and Associated Newspapers. In addition, the couple has committed to donating any damages to an anti-bullying charity. The Mail stands by the story it published and denies that the letter was edited “in any way that changed its meaning.” However, since Markle owns the the copyright of her correspondence, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams argues that the royals have “an excellent chance of winning the case.”
Days after the initial announcement regarding the lawsuit against the Mail and Associated Newspapers, Prince Harry filed suit against the owners of U.K. tabloid newspapers, the Sun and the Daily Mirror for allegedly hacking his phone. Prince Harry claims these newspapers illegally intercepted his voicemail messages. Although it has not yet been established when the hacking allegedly took place, this new claim indicates that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are actively pursuing legal action against U.K. publishers.
Stay tuned for future updates regarding the ongoing litigation.