Prince Harry explains why he's suing a newspaper
Prince Harry released a rare statement Tuesday railing against the British tabloids' coverage of his wife, Meghan Markle, and announcing that they are suing The Mail on Sunday, which has run a number of interviews with Markle's father, Thomas Markle. According to The Guardian, the paper's decision to run a letter from Markle to her father sparked the decision to pursue a lawsuit. The letter reads:
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. 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.
This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. 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.
Markle has been a constant target of the British tabloids since the couple began dating in 2016. In fact, Harry announced he had a new girlfriend with a stern statement to the press about a line being crossed in its coverage of Markle. "His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public—the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments," the 2016 letter read.
Most recently, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have drawn criticism for flying on private jets in spite of the negative effects on the environment. But the lawsuit the couple are pursuing is because of the publication of private correspondence. "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," the letter continues.
The statement drew a comparision with the press' treatment of Markle with that of Harry's mother. Princess Diana was killed in 1997 in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi.
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.
It's not the first time the royal family has sued the press. Most recently, in 2012, Prince William and Kate Middleton sued Closer magazine for publishing nude photos of her, and in 2017, a French court ruled her privacy had been invaded.
The lawsuit is being paid for with the couple's private funds and any damages won will be donated to an anti-bullying charity, according to the statement.
The Mail responded Tuesday afternoon defending their piece. Emily Andrews, a royal correspondent for The Sun, tweeted the statement, which reads, “The Mail on Sunday stands by the story it published and will be defending this case vigorously. Specifically, we categorically deny that the Duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”