Just as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were wrapping up their very successful royal tour in southern Africa—which featured speeches about women’s empowerment, conservation, and baby Archie’s first official royal engagement—it was announced that Markle was suing the British tabloid Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, after the royal wedding in 2018.
“We have initiated legal proceedings against the Mail on Sunday, and its parent company Associated Newspapers, over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex, which is part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband,” a legal spokesperson for the couple said in a statement. “Given the refusal of Associated Newspapers to resolve this issue satisfactorily, we have issued proceedings to redress this breach of privacy, infringement of copyright and the aforementioned media agenda.”
Later in the week, it was confirmed by Buckingham Palace that Harry filed a lawsuit of his own over an alleged phone and voicemail hacking in the early 2000s.
Let’s break down what’s going on here.
What exactly are these two lawsuits?
As you probably remember, there was a lot of drama surrounding Markle’s father in the weeks leading up to the wedding. It was revealed that he had staged photos to sell to the tabloids, reportedly suffered a heart attack, and eventually pulled out of attending the wedding and walking his daughter down the aisle. Since then, he has continued to give numerous interviews to tabloids and talk shows, including one about the letter Meghan wrote to him asking him to stop going to the press, per the Guardian.
“The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question,” Harry said in a statement. “In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.”
We don’t know a lot of details about Harry’s case as of yet, but it dates back to a major phone-hacking scandal in Britain by the Sun and now-defunct News of the World that involved a number of members of the royal family, as well as other celebrities. “We confirm that a claim has been issued by the Duke of Sussex,” a spokesperson for News Group Newspapers told the BBC in a statement. “We have no further comment to make at the current time.”