Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Privacy Lawsuits Against Media Outlets Could Backfire, Expert Says

A media and reputation legal expert predicts that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's privacy lawsuits against media outlets could backfire.

  • As if they didn't have enough on their plates with the royal exit and a transatlantic move, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have also spent 2020 embroiled in a legal battle.
  • The Sussexes have sued several media outlets in their fight back against tabloids they say invaded Meghan's privacy in pursuit of stories about her.
  • Amber Melville-Brown, head of the media and reputation practice at international law firm Withers, says the strategy will likely backfire for Harry and Meghan and that the lawsuits will only "make the press even more persistent."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (opens in new tab) have made it clear that they're done being pushed around—especially by the media. Amid their controversial royal exit, the couple has been pursuing lawsuits against several British tabloids (opens in new tab) and other media outlets, including The Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

The lawsuits (opens in new tab) haven't gone perfectly so far. In May, Meghan suffered a setback (opens in new tab) when a judge struck out part of her claim against the Mail on Sunday's publisher Associated Newspapers and in July, she agreed to pay almost $90,000 in legal fees (opens in new tab) as a result of the loss. Although Harry and Meghan have yet to give up their fight, at least one expert is speaking out against their legal action.

"Their attempt to control the British tabloids was misjudged in my view," Amber Melville-Brown, head of the media and reputation practice at international law firm Withers, told Insider (opens in new tab). "As a privacy lawyer I value and will fight for the rights of my clients. But I fear that here, even if Meghan wins her legal case in her claims for misuse of private information, and infringement of her rights under the Data Protection legislation and in copyright, this is a war that she cannot win."

Worse than simply losing the legal fight, Melville-Brown predicts that the lawsuits could backfire and "make the press even more persistent. Obviously, this would be the exact opposite of what Harry and Meghan (opens in new tab) want, particularly as they attempt to settle into a new, more private life (opens in new tab) with their one-year-old son, Archie Harrison (opens in new tab).

RELATED STORIES

Kayleigh Roberts is the weekend editor at Marie Claire, covering celebrity and entertainment news, from actual royals like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to Hollywood royalty, like Katie Holmes and Chrissy Teigen. She’s a Ravenclaw who would do great things in Slytherin. To learn more about her, google “Leslie Knope eating salad GIF.