The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are taking legal action against a British media outlet Mail on Sunday over an alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.
In a joint statement released by Sussex Royal, Prince Harry announced the couple has filed a claim against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company Associated Newspapers for an “unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex.”
The news comes just as the prince and his wife, Meghan Markle, wrap their 10 day royal tour of Africa, but as sources reveal, has been months in the making.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of the 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 son,” the Duke said.
The 35-year-old royal writes that although the pair have “put on a brave face,” the “malicious” coverage of the Duchess has been indescribably “painful.”
The American-born royal and former actress has been a permanent fixture in international headlines and has faced particular scrutiny from “select” media outlets since her relationship with Prince Harry was revealed in 2016. Although the Duke noted that in recent weeks, coverage of Markle has been overwhelmingly positive, it has exposed for the couple “a double standard” from media who have “vilified” the duchess daily.
“She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day,” he wrote. “Just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour. For this select media this is a game, and one we have been unwilling to play from the start. 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 private document in question relates to a hand-written letter from the duchess to her father, Thomas Markle from August 2018.
According to the Data Protection Act 2018, individuals are protected from having personal data processed (disseminated or made available) unlawfully and purposely without the consent of the data subject.
Prince Harry explained that the couple have chosen to take action because persistent bullying and targeted press like that towards the Duchess “destroys people and destroys lives.”
“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 Duke concluded. “We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.”