In an emotional open letter released to the public on Tuesday, Prince Harry spoke candidly about what he describes as both Meghan and his mother being bullied by the British press. In the letter, Harry connects the press' treatment of Meghan to that of his late mother Diana—who died in 1997 when the princess' car crashed into a Paris tunnel while trying to escape a swarm of press—and wrote: "I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."
The letter is from Harry alone, not Harry and Meghan as a unit, and Harry speaks in the first person in a raw, emotive way that's unusual (and courageous) for a British royal. "My deepest fear is history repeating 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," he writes.
The legal proceedings in question involve private letters from Meghan that had been leaked and published by the British press. This act, according to Harry's letter, is an escalation of a "ruthless campaign" that has existed since Meghan and Harry began dating, but has gotten worse over the past year. Meghan's letters, writes Harry, are the catalyst for his legal proceedings against the corporation Associated Newspapers—legal proceedings that have "been many months in the making."
Although Meghan does not comment in Harry's statement, the prince speaks candidly about her feelings about the "ruthless campaign" he notes that she's endured: "I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long," he writes. "There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives."
The letter ends on a note of gratitude for the public who have supported Meghan and Harry: "We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it," it concludes.
This isn't the first time Harry has spoken directly to the British public about the British tabloids' treatment of his wife. In 2016, in regard to his then-girlfriend Meghan, the Palace released a stern statement: "His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment...Some of this has been very public—the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
Read Harry's full letter released Tuesday below.
As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.
Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.
There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper.
Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations - something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.
It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making. The positive coverage of the past week from these same publications exposes the double standards of this specific press pack that has vilified her almost daily for the past nine months; they have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave. She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.
For these select media this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start. I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.
This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. 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. 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.
There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.
Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating 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.
We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.