The treatment of the Duchess of Sussex by the British tabloids is widely thought to have played a major role in her and Prince Harry’s decision to step back as senior royals and relocate from the UK to the U.S. in early 2020. Now, Meghan Markle has won a major battle against one such publication, The Mail on Sunday, which published contents of a private letter she had written to her father, a story spread across five different articles in February of 2019.
Markle won the privacy and copyright infringement case against Associated Newspapers with the judge, Mark Warby, saying Markle “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private. The Mail articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”
In response to the ruling, Markle said that she was “grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday to account.”
“These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence,” she wrote in a handwritten statement.
“For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
“The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news,” she continued. “What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.”
“But for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won. We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody’s privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has blatantly done over the past two years.
“I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.”
Markle finished by thanking her husband, mother and legal team.
Markle and Prince Harry have spoken out numerous times against the press, most notably when the Prince likened the way Markle has been treated to the way his late mother, Princess Diana, was treated before her untimely death in 1997.
In a statement released on the couple’s now-defunct website, Prince Harry wrote that his “deepest fear” is history will repeat itself: “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. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Let’s hope this win is a move towards a better treatment of women in the media.