When Meghan Markle announced her pregnancy, she was regularly attacked by the media for anything and everything. Stories ranged from negativity around the way she was holding her baby bump to her avocado cravings reportedly being linked to drought (yes, really). Now, court documents released this week as part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's lawsuit against a British media company claim that the 38-year-old royal was "prohibited from defending herself" by the monarchy against media intrusion.
"The Claimant had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the U.K. tabloid media, specifically by the Defendant, which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health," the documents filed by Meghan's legal team read. "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."
Markle is suing publishers Associated Newspapers and the Mail On Sunday for publishing extracts of a private and confidential letter to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018.
"This case centres on a private and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by The Mail on Sunday," a source close to the couple told People. "This gross violation of any person's right to privacy is obvious and unlawful."
Late last year, Prince Harry released a lengthy statement calling out the media's persistent negativity around his wife. The royal called out out the British tabloid press over their "ruthless" campaign against her, which he says "has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son."
"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," he wrote at the time. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
Following the release of the documents, Daily Mirror Royal editor Russell Myers told Lorraine Kelly that the news would be "very distressing" for the royal family.
"The Queen mentions family, how they took Meghan into their heart of the family, how she was so impressed with her," she said. "And certainly these claims that she felt unprotected, especially when pregnant, will be very, very distressing to hear for the Queen, Philip, Charles, Kate and William."