Meghan Markle has said that she felt ‘unprotected’ by the Royal Family from claims made against her while she was pregnant.
The statement was made in documents submitted to court in the Duchess of Sussex’s case against the owner of MailOnline and the Mail on Sunday, Associated Newspapers Limited.
In the submissions a lawyer writing on behalf of Meghan said she had “become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles’ in UK newspapers, specifically by Associated Newspapers titles, which caused ‘tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health’.”
The documents added: “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”
Meghan is taking legal action against Associated Newspapers Limited over its publication of a “private and confidential” letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
She is suing the publisher over five articles – two in the Mail on Sunday and three on MailOnline – which were published in February 2019 and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her dad in August 2018.
The court documents also show that Meghan has identified five friends who gave an interview to People Magazine about the letter.
It is claimed that Mr Markle only came forward with the letter following the interview to show that it did not include the tender sentiments they had suggested.
MailOnline reports that Meghan said she “did not know about the interview having been given, and only found out about it, and any reference to the Letter, after the People magazine article was published”.
The court documents also claim that the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan raised £1billion in tourist revenue.
This figure has been previously refuted by consulting firm Brand Finance, MailOnline reports, with a figure of £300million closer to the mark.
Meghan also claims in the papers that she did not write in the letter that her father had ‘victimised’ her, as had been reported.
She instead wrote that she was concerned that he was being manipulated by the media, the papers claim.
At the beginning of May Associated Newspapers asked Mr Justice Warby to strike out the following allegations in Meghan’s case:
– That the defendant acted dishonestly and in bad faith.
– That the defendant deliberately dug up or stirred up conflict between the claimant and her father.
– That the claimant was distressed by the defendant’s “obvious agenda of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about [her] intended to portray her in a false and damaging light”.
Mr Justice Warby agreed the allegations should not form part of her case at this stage because they were “irrelevant” to her claim for misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
But he said those parts of her case may be revived at a later stage, if they are put on a proper legal basis.
After Justice Warby’s ruling became known, Meghan said in a statement: “Today’s ruling makes very clear that the core elements of this case do not change and will continue to move forward.
“The duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed.
“As part of this process, the extremes to which the Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target the Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display.
The statement added: “Whilst the judge recognises that there is a claim for breach of privacy and copyright, we are surprised to see that his ruling suggests that dishonest behaviour is not relevant.
“We feel honesty and integrity are at the core of what matters; or as it relates to the Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers, their lack thereof.
“Nonetheless, we respect the judge’s decision as the strong case against Associated will continue to focus on the issue of a private, intimate and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by The Mail on Sunday.
“This gross violation of any person’s right to privacy is obvious and unlawful, and The Mail on Sunday should be held to account for their actions.”