The Duchess of Sussex, who is currently on a 10-day trip in Africa with Harry and their son, Archie, is pursuing legal action against Associated Newspapers, the parent company of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, “over the misuse of private information,” according to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official website.
The Mail on Sunday published a private letter belonging to the Duchess of Sussex early in 2019.
“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,” Harry wrote in the statement.
The duke said that certain media publications are “able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave.” Meghan was on maternity leave after she and Harry welcomed Archie in May through September.
“This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media,” Harry said of The Mail on Sunday, explaining that the outlet released the Duchess’ private letter “in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question.”
“In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, 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,” he added.
Harry said that the couple was determined to put a stop to the lies, and that the matter was particularly personal for him because of his late mother, Princess Diana, who faced intense scrutiny from paparazzi in the years ahead of her untimely death in 1997.
“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,” the prince said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
The court case is being privately funded by the Sussexes, the statement said, and if any damages are awarded, the proceeds will be given to an anti-bullying charity.
Harry signed off on the letter by thanking the royal couple’s supporters during this trying time.
“We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it,” he said.
The Mail on Sunday released a statement Tuesday, writing “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.”
Read the full statement here.