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Meghan felt ‘unprotected’ by royals while pregnant, court documents show | Meghan, Duchess of Sussex


The Duchess of Sussex felt “unprotected” by the royal family from claims made in the UK tabloid press against her while she was pregnant, court documents reveal.

Meghan’s assertions are made in the latest submissions in her legal action against the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online publishers, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), over the publication of extracts from a private hand-written letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

In legal filings, her lawyers said the duchess 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’.”

“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 suing the newspaper group for misuse of private information, breach of data protection and copyright infringement after extracts published in February 2019 reproduced parts of the letter she sent in August 2018.

ANL has said Markle shared the letter only after friends of Meghan gave an interview to US People magazine, which he felt vilified him, and he wanted to show it was not the tender missive they had suggested.

In response, Meghan’s lawyers claim she was not aware in advance that five friends had spoken anonymously to People magazine, and that she was distressed that one had mentioned the letter, and given an inaccurate account of its contents.

It was “mandated” by Kensington Palace “that all friends and family of [Meghan] should say ‘no comment’ when approached by any media outlet, despite misinformation being provided to the UK tabloids about her,” the document states.

“This shared frustration amongst the claimant’s friends left everyone feeling silenced, as it appeared that other so-called sources were able to disseminate false statements about the claimant, while people who knew her best were told they needed to remain silent.

“The claimant believes that is probably because of this reason, as well as concerns about the press intrusion by the UK tabloids, that a few friends chose to participate and they did so anonymously”.

Meghan did not know which of her friends had participated “until well after the publication,” the court documents state.

She had only discussed the contents of the letter with husband Prince Harry, her mother Doria Ragland, one friend, the Kensington Palace communications team and her solicitors, it is said. She had sent it via a trusted business manager to lessen chances of it being intercepted.

The documents claim Meghan denies blocking calls from her father after he failed to attend her Windsor Castle wedding due to a cardiac condition, or that she had changed her number. It is said she tried to call him five times, and sent numerous texts, which went unanswered, after learning of his health problems. It is also claimed her wedding to Harry raised “tourism revenue of over £1bn”

Last month Mr Justice Warby struck out allegations that the publisher had acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain passages of the letter. He also struck out allegations that the publisher deliberately “stirred up” issues between Meghan and her father, and that it had an “agenda” of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about her.


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