In a blistering statement published Tuesday, Prince Harry announced that his wife Meghan Markle is suing the British newspaper the Mail On Sunday for publishing a private letter, which he alleges was illegal.
The statement by Harry calls the paper’s coverage of Meghan “ruthless” and “relentless propaganda,” which is tantamount to “bullying” and which “destroys people and destroys lives.”
The couple has launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, over what they allege is “the intrusive and unlawful publication” of a private letter written by Meghan. Their lawyers called it “part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband.”
The statement also clarifies that Meghan and Harry will fund the lawsuit themselves, and that any money they’re awarded in damages will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious”- Prince Harry
The contents or date of the letter in question aren’t specified, but they’re likely referring to a letter Meghan wrote her father that the paper published in February. The statement alleges that the publication of the letter violates the Data Protection Act of 2018, and amounts to misuse of private information and infringement of copyright.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious,” Harry wrote in the statement. “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.”
Not only was the letter unlawfully published, but it was selectively edited, Harry claims. “They purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.”
In addition to the publication of the letter, its sister paper The Daily Mail has also quoted “insiders” alleging that “Hurricane Meghan” is “ripping up the rulebooks on everything from fashion to friendships, diplomacy to the etiquette of car doors,” calling her a “dictatorial” bride, re-naming her “Me-Me-Meghan,” and calling the biracial duchess “straight outta Compton.”
Watch: Britain’s Brexit Party leader ridicules Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in speech. Story continues after video.
But not all of the Daily Mail’s coverage has been negative: many of the articles about the couple’s recent royal tour in southern Africa has been favourable. That didn’t escape Harry’s attention: “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,” he wrote.
“They have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave.”
The Daily Mail is not the only publication that has covered Meghan with a tone many see as racist. “60 Minutes Australia” was recently criticized for airing a segment called ”#Megxit” which called the duchess “insufferable” and “manipulating” and featured far-right bigot Katie Hopkins.
In November 2016, when they were still dating, Harry published an official statement decrying the way Meghan was treated by the press, specifically noting “the racial undertones of comment pieces” and “the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
In both that letter and the one published Tuesday, Harry touched on the death of his mother, Princess Diana, whose car crashed while she was being pursued by the paparazzi in 1997. “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 in Tuesday’s letter.
“We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”