Prince Harry announced in an official statement on Tuesday that he and his wife, Meghan Markle, are suing the British tabloid, The Mail On Sunday, for publishing a private, handwritten letter from the Duchess of Sussex to her father, Thomas Markle, earlier this year. The royal family almost never comment on stories in the tabloids, so taking this step – while not unprecedented – is very rare.
In the statement, the Prince Harry chastises the tabloid media, writing that his 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.” Describing the toll the tabloids have taken on Markle, the Duke continues, “I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.”
Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, was a victim of the darkest edges of the tabloid media when she was tragically killed while fleeing paparazzi in Paris in August 1997. The Duke was 12-years-old at the time, so he knows all too well the effect the media can have on his family, something he references directly in the statement. “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 case, according to the statement, “hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behavior 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. 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.” The Duke and Duchess argue this is a violation of the U.K.’s Data Protection Act of 2018, which concerns digital privacy.
This is not the first time a member of the royal family has brought suit against a tabloid. In 2012, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton sued a French outlet after the publication ran topless photos of Middleton while she was on vacation in France. The royal couple won their lawsuit in 2017. The circumstances of the current suit are different, but the results will likely have widespread effects on the tabloid media and as such, Gossip Cop will keep following this important story.