Prince Harry has had enough of the negative attention surrounding his wife Meghan Markle. On the penultimate day of the Sussexes' royal tour of Africa, the Duke released a stern statement condemning his wife's treatment in the British tabloid press, revealing that they are taking 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," Harry said in his statement.
"Unfortunately, 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 continued.
Harry noted that he and Meghan have put on a "brave face" amid the "relentless propaganda." "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," he said.
The Duke, who first issued a statement regarding Meghan while they were dating back in 2016, revealed that this lawsuit has been several months in the making. "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," he said.
Prince Harry admitted that he has "been a silent witness" to Meghan's "private suffering for too long." "To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in," he declared. "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 Duke then refrenced his late mother Princess Diana, comparing her media treatment to Meghan's. He said, "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."
Harry concluded the statement thanking the public for their "continued support." He added, "It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it."
Meghan filed a claim against Associated Newspapers over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. The proceedings in the Chancery Division of the High Court relate to the unlawful publication of a private letter. The couple's case is being funded privately funded by Harry and Meghan. Any damages won in the court ruling will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
A legal spokesperson for the Duchess said in a statement: “We have initiated legal proceedings against the Mail on Sunday, and its parent company Associated Newspapers, over 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”.