In new court documents, Meghan Markle says she felt “unprotected by the Institution” of the monarchy and was “prohibited from defending herself” against media during her pregnancy.
The documents are part of an ongoing lawsuit against Associated Papers, which publishes the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online. The lawsuit specifically focuses on the 2018 publication of a private letter Markle sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in the Mail on Sunday before her royal wedding.
The BBC, which obtained the court documents, says the papers revealed answers to questions asked by Associated Newspapers about Markle’s case. Global News has not independently reviewed the documents.
In reference to interviews with five of Markle’s friends conducted by People anonymously last February, the court documents say:
“The Claimant had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media, specifically by the Defendant, which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.
“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.”
The documents also argue that security costs for Prince Harry and Markle’s wedding, paid for by taxpayer dollars, would’ve been outweighed by tourism revenue, which is estimated to be more than £1 billion. The cost of their wedding was widely discussed in the media that year.
Markle’s team also appeared to criticize Kensington Palace for not allowing her to defend herself against the press, instead responding to press inquiries with “no comment,” Business Insider reports.
“The stance of ‘no comment’ was taken by the Kensington Palace Communications Team without any discussion with or approval by the Claimant, as is standard practice for Royal communications,” the duchess’ spokesperson said, according to the publication.
The privacy claim against Associated Papers was first launched in October last year at the end of Markle and Harry’s royal tour in Africa.
The company has denied the allegations, particularly the claim that the letter was presented in a way that changed its meaning.
After the preliminary hearing in May, parts of the duchess’s claim against the U.K. tabloid were struck out.
Allegations dropped by Justice Warby included the claim that the Mail on Sunday deliberately “stirred up” trouble between Markle and her father and that it had an “agenda” and acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain parts of the letter, Sky News reports.
In his ruling, Warby said the claims were “irrelevant” to Markle’s wider claim of misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
A spokesperson for the couple confirmed to NBC News that Harry and Markle woke up at 4 a.m. to listen in to the ruling from Los Angeles, where they now live with their son, Archie.
Kensington Palace has yet to comment on the claims in the lawsuit.
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