LONDON – Meghan Markle felt “unprotected” by the British royal family when she was pregnant and became the target of “damaging articles” in the UK media, according to court documents revealed on Thursday.
The documents pertain to legal action that Markle, who is married to Prince Harry, has taken against Associated Newspapers (ANL), the owner of British newspapers the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline, over the alleged unlawful publication of extracts of a private letter written to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
Markle felt “unprotected” by the institution of the royal family and “prohibited” from defending herself against the media attention in 2019, when she was pregnant with the couple’s son Archie, according to the documents.
Her legal team said she had “become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media, specifically by the defendant [ANL] which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.”
The lawsuit against the media publisher was launched before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down from senior royal duties.
She is suing them for breach of data protection and copyright infringement.
“As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant,” the court document said.
ANL claimed it only published extracts from the private letter after five of Markle’s friends anonymously gave an interview to American publication People magazine in February 2019, which Thomas Markle allegedly found defamatory.
People magazine interviewed the anonymous friends again after the partial publication of Thomas Markle’s letter in the Mail on Sunday.
They claimed, contrary to her father’s account, that the duchess had tried to persuade him to attend the royal wedding in May 2018.
They also said she tried to call her father when he was hospitalized for heart problems in the lead up to the wedding.
Harry and Meghan announced in January that they wanted to step back as senior royals and become financially independent.
They reached an agreement with the rest of the royal family that this would happen from March 31, with a review of the arrangement 12 weeks later.