Meghan Markle, the American actress and wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, has filed a lawsuit against the UK tabloid Mail on Sunday and its parent company Associated Newspapers for its part in publishing one of her private letters. News of the lawsuit, filed in the Chancery Division of the High Court, was revealed Tuesday in a post on the couple’s official website.
The post also included a strongly worded letter from Prince Harry, who outlined the couple’s decision to file the suit. “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one,” he wrote. “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.”
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was killed in 1997 in Paris when her limousine crashed while attempting to evade tabloid paparazzi.
The lawsuit filed by Markle alleges misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. It did not say what letter was at the center of the legal action, but the tabloid in February did publish contents of a private letter Markle had written to her father.
Schillings, the law firm representing Markle, called the letter’s publication “intrusive and unlawful,” and said it “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.”
Prince Harry called out the Mail on Sunday‘s “ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”
“This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media,” he continued. “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. In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.
“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.”
The site said the couple is privately funded by the couple and proceeds from any court victory would be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
A Mail on Sunday spokesperson told the BBC that “We categorically deny that the duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.” The publisher also owns Daily Mail, MailOnline and Metro.