Meghan Markle and Prince Harry take legal action over ‘ruthless campaign’ to criticize duchess

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are taking legal action against the publishers of a British newspaper after it published a private letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

In February, the Mail on Sunday published a handwritten note shared by the elder Markle, in which his famous daughter accuses him of “turning a blind eye to the pain” he’s causing by speaking to the media. The letter is dated August 2018, three months after the royal wedding, which Thomas Markle missed after it emerged that he had posed for staged paparazzi photos.

A statement posted by Prince Harry on Tuesday revealed that the royals have now “initiated legal proceedings” against the publication and its parent company Associated Newspapers, citing the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. Schillings, the legal firm representing the couple, called the letter’s publication “part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband.”

Britain's Prince Harry gestures next to his wife Meghan as they ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj    SEARCH "POY GLOBAL" FOR FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2018 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
The duchess's letter to her father is dated three months after her May 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. (Photo: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Prince Harry also defended his wife against the “bullying.”

“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,” he wrote.

Prince Harry continued: “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.”

He went on to note the positive reception the couple’s current royal tour in Africa has seen, and alluded to his mother Princess Diana’s death:

“The positive coverage of the past week 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.”

“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one,” he continued. “Because my 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.”

The statement added that the couple are paying for the lawsuit privately and will donate any proceeds from damages to "an anti-bullying charity.”

In 2016, Prince Harry issued a statement decrying the “wave of abuse and harassment” targeting his then-girlfriend Meghan. And in May, he accepted damages and an apology after a photo agency violated their privacy by taking up-close images of their home. Members of the public have also risen to the couple’s defense in response to complaints over the decision to have a private christening for son Archie and other criticism.

The legal proceedings have already riled up frequent Meghan critic Piers Morgan, who tweeted that the complaint revealed her “true colors.”

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