TAKING ACTION: The Duchess of Sussex has filed a claim against Associated Newspapers over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, relating to the alleged unlawful publication of a private letter in Britain’s Mail on Sunday.
A spokesperson from the law firm Schillings, which is representing Meghan Markle, said the suit regards “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.”
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The case is being privately funded by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Schillings added, and pending a court ruling, proceeds from any damages will be donated to an antibullying charity.
Associated Newspapers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The above statement was published on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official web site and was accompanied by a long rant from Prince Harry about how his wife has been bullied relentlessly in the British press, and how it was time to take legal action.
“As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world — on every level — we have never needed responsible media more,” he said, adding that his wife has become the victim 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.”
He said 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 I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe.”
The prince took issue with tabloids creating “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.”
The prince and his wife have been on a 10-day tour of Southern Africa, which wraps up this week.
He said that for these select media “this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start. I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long.” He called the papers’ behavior “bullying” and said his deepest fear is history repeating itself.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized 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.”
This isn’t the first time Prince Harry has told the British press to lay off Meghan: A year before they were engaged, in 2016, Kensington Palace issued a warning in response to media reports about Markle’s personal life, and the racy sex scenes she’s filmed as a character in “Suits.”
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,” the 2016 statement read.
“He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game.’ He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his. He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done. He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.”
The British tabloids can be nasty and relentless, and they love nothing more than cutting down the rich, famous and privileged — and then building them back up again. Whatever the result of this latest lawsuit, one thing is for sure: This won’t be the last time Prince Harry gets out his pen — or fires up his keyboard — to rail against the nation’s press.
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