Harry accuses tabloid press of ‘ruthless campaign’ against Meghan
The duke referenced his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Duke of Sussex has launched an unprecedented attack against the British tabloid press for a “ruthless campaign” against his wife, as it was announced she is suing a newspaper after it published a letter she wrote to her father.
In a highly personal and scathing statement, Harry said some newspapers had “vilified her almost daily for the past nine months” and claimed they had published “lie after lie” at Meghan’s expense simply because she was out of public view on maternity leave.
Referencing his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who was a tabloid newspaper staple and died in a Paris car crash while being pursued by the paparazzi, the duke 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.”
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
Harry said about his wife: “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.”
The couple are coming to the end of a 10-day tour of southern Africa with son Archie which has received favourable coverage, but the duke said these positive publications exposes the “double standards of this specific press pack”.
Meghan has launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday newspaper over an allegation it unlawfully published the letter to her father.
Law firm Schillings, representing the duchess, said she had filed a High Court claim against the paper and its parent company Associated Newspapers over the alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.
In the statement published on the duke and duchess’s official website, Harry said he and Meghan believed in “media freedom and objective, truthful reporting” as a “cornerstone of democracy”.
Addressing readers, he added: “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.
“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.”
It is understood the couple did not take legal action lightly, but the timing of the announcement will over overshadow the final day of their Africa tour on Wednesday.
In February, the Mail on Sunday published extracts of Meghan’s handwritten letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
In one extract, published by the newspaper, the duchess wrote: “Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces – not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand.”
In the run up to the wedding, Mr Markle was caught up in controversy after he allegedly staged paparazzi photographs of himself and then began commenting regularly to entertainment website TMZ about his contact with his daughter.
Harry explained that the alleged unlawful publication of the private letter was done in “an intentionally destructive manner” to “manipulate” readers.
He claimed readers were misled by “strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year”.
He added: “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.”
A spokeswoman for law firm Schillings claimed the “intrusive” publication of the letter was part of Associated Newspaper’s campaign to write “false and deliberately derogatory stories about” Meghan, “as well as her husband”.
A Mail on Sunday spokesman said: “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.”