In Brief

Why Meghan Markle is suing the Mail on Sunday

Prince Harry takes aim at press asDuchess of Sussex launches legal action

The Duchess of Sussex has launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday over a claim that it unlawfully published one of her private letters to her estranged father.

In the High Court claim against the newspaper, law firm Schillings accuses the Mail on Sunday and its parent company of alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

The claim relates to an article in February which drew on a letter that Meghan sent to her father, Thomas Markle. He shared the letter, which he called a “dagger to the heart”, with the paper.

In a personal statement on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's official website, Prince Harry said that the royal couple felt forced to take action against “relentless propaganda”.

Harry said he had been a “silent witness” to his wife’s suffering as the “press pack” had “vilified her almost daily for the past nine months”.

In a particularly charged passage, he spoke of the spoke of the “painful” impact of intrusive media coverage, writing: “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

The prince said his “deepest fear is history repeating itself,” adding: “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.”

Harry’s statement, which The Times says he wrote “by himself, without the help of any of his staff”, has already sparked debate. 

Penny Junor, a royal author and the Prince of Wales’s biographer, said: “This feels to me like an over-emotional and somewhat ill-advised outburst.” Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said: “I don’t think the Queen would have necessarily known about this.”

Harry says Mail on Sunday readers were misled by the newspaper “strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words,” in the reporting of the letter.  

A Mail on Sunday spokesman says it will defend the case “vigorously”, adding: “We categorically deny that the Duchess's letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”

The lawsuit is being privately funded by the couple and any damages won will go to an anti-bullying charity.

The dramatic development comes as the royal couple come to the end of their tour in Africa, their first as a family with baby Archie.

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