The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are taking action against what Harry called a "ruthless campaign" against Meghan Markle in the tabloid media.
The couple has filed a claim against Associated Newspapers (owner of the Daily Mail and its vertical, Mail on Sunday) regarding a private letter published by The Mail on Sunday in February of this year.
Prince Harry addressed the suit in an emotional new statement posted on his and Meghan Markle's official website on Tuesday.
The letter in question was written by Meghan to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, shortly after her wedding in 2018, and published by the Daily Mail about nine months later. Harry wrote that the private letter was "published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question."
He adds that The Mail "purposely misled [the reader] by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year."
In the statement, Prince Harry wrote that while he and Meghan "belive in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting," Meghan 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."
"For these select media this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start," he continued. "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."
Harry adds that the the decision to pursue a lawsuit "may not be the safe one," but he felt it was the right one, especially given his family's long and tenuous relationship with the press. "My 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," he wrote.
"I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces," he continued, invoking the memory of the late Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997 while fleeing paparazzi.
This is not the first time that Harry has voiced his concern regarding the tabloids' treatment of Meghan. When the couple first began dating publicly in 2016, Harry issued a rare statement asking the press to cease harassment of Meghan and her family.
Harry's brother, too, has taken legal action regarding invasive stories about his family. In 2017, Prince William and Kate Middleton were awarded damages over topless photos of Kate that were taken while she was sunbathing privately in France in 2012 and later published.
Though Meghan has been repeatedly targeted by tabloid media, she and Harry do have supporters in their corner. In addition to Oprah, Elton John, and George and Amal Clooney, Meghan also has friends like stylist Jessica Mulroney and designer Misha Nonoo showing their support.
Should they win the case, the Sussexes have stated that they will donate proceeds from any damages to an anti-bullying charity.
Read the full statement here.
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