'My wife is a victim': Prince Harry's scathing attack after Meghan sues tabloid

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced that they’re taking legal action against a British newspaper after it published a private letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle Sr.

A statement posted by Prince Harry on Tuesday revealed that the royals have now “initiated legal proceedings” against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company Associated Newspapers who in February this year published a handwritten note shared by the former lighting director.

In the note dated August 2018, the duchess, 38, accuses Thomas of “turning a blind eye to the pain” he caused by speaking to the media.

Laying down the law

The royal couple is citing the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

They have stated they’ll pay for the lawsuit privately and intend to donate any proceeds from damages to "an anti-bullying charity”.

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”.

The letter is thought to have been sent three months after the Sussexes’ wedding in May, which Thomas missed after it emerged that he had posed for staged paparazzi photos.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 25: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Toby Melville/Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured with son Archie last week) are taking legal action. (Photo: Toby Melville/Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

“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.”

Meghan a ‘victim’

Elsewhere in the statement, the Duke went on to call his wife a “victim” of a “ruthless campaign” waged against her by the tabloids, branding it “false and malicious” and “painful”.

“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.

“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 continued.

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)

Harry’s fears for Meghan’s safety

Despite the positive reception of the couple’s current royal tour in Africa, Harry went on to stress his concerns over his wife’s personal safety by drawing parallels between the treatment of the former Suits star and his late mother, Princess Diana, who was hounded by the press before her 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 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.”

Diana, Princess of Wales was killed at age 36 in a car crash in the early hours of August 31, 1997 in a tunnel in Paris. While Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, was found to be solely responsible for the crash due to his intoxication and erratic driving, many lay blame on the paparazzi who chased Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed as they left their hotel earlier that evening.

A photo of Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt, leaves Chelsea Harbour Club, London in November, 1995.
Princess Diana (pictured in 1995) dies in a car crash in 1997. Photo: Getty Image.

Defending the duchess

It’s not the first time Harry has come to his wife’s defence. In 2016, he 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.

While the public has defended the couple against backlash including the decision to have a private christening for son Archie, the criticism has continued.

In August this year, the daughter of Mail on Sunday owner Viscount Jonathan Rothermere labelled the duchess ‘hypocritical’ before demanding her supporters ‘grow up’ in an Instagram post.

The following month, Australian TV program 60 Minutes was widely condemned for its ‘exposé’ on Meghan, which many branded a “character assassination”.

Piers Morgan lashes out

The Sussexes’ legal proceedings have already riled up frequent Meghan critic Piers Morgan, who earlier roasted her for refusing to be photographed at Wimbledon.

The Good Morning Britain host tweeted that the complaint revealed Meghan’s “true colours.”

“They talk of bullying but this is their attempt to bully the press into fawning sycophancy,” he added.

Additional reporting by Erin Donnelly.

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