“There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives,” he writes
Prince Harry has officially had enough. Today, the Duke of Sussex released an extraordinary statement defending his wife Meghan Markle against the treatment she’s received from the British press, specifically Mail on Sunday. The statement, published on the pair’s official website, comes as the pair announce they are suing the publication for publishing one of the Duchess’ private letters.
“Unfortunately 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 writes. “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.”
Prince Harry goes on to talk about how in the digital age one story can spread like wildfire “across the globe” adding that they have been “unable to correct the continual misrepresentations” which he says the outlets have “exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.”
Confirming that he and Meghan are taking legal action as a result, Harry said, “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.” To them, he says, it “is a game”, whereas it is deeply personal for him and Meghan. “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,” he writes.
A spokesperson from Schillings, the law firm representing Meghan in the case, told People, “We have initiated legal proceedings against the Mail on Sunday, and its parent company Associated Newspapers, over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex, which is part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband. Given the refusal of Associated Newspapers to resolve this issue satisfactorily, we have issued proceedings to redress this breach of privacy, infringement of copyright and the aforementioned media agenda.”
Harry says the outlet “purposely misled” readers by “strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.” It is, he says simply, bullying. “We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”
For Harry, it is deeply personal, on account of the similar treatment his late mother Princess Diana received in the press during her lifetime also. Acknowledging this, he writes, “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. 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 statement ends with a heartfelt thank you to the couple’s supporters. “We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.”
This isn’t the first time Harry has spoken out to defend his wife, having previously spoken out against the treatment of her in the British press when the pair first started dating.