Meghan Markle said she was “unprotected” by the British monarchy and was denied the ability to defend herself from false press attacks as a member of the royal family.
The Duchess of Sussex, who announced with her husband, Prince Harry, the couple’s plans to “step back” from their royal duties earlier this year, revealed details about her relationship with the family in new court documents as part of her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday.
In the documents, excerpts of which were published by the paper Wednesday, her lawyers claimed that false and damaging articles published by the outlet “caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.” The documents also said her friends were concerned for her well-being, citing a lack of protection from the royal family.
“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,” the filing stated.
The attorneys also said Markle’s former spokeswoman at Kensington Palace did not allow royals to comment on tabloids, prompting them to express “no comment” even when stories were false.
Markle’s lawsuit accuses the Mail on Sunday of breach of copyright and invasion of privacy after the paper published excerpts of a letter she wrote to her father. The tabloid is defending itself, saying Markle had authorized or arranged for her friends to tell People about the letter. Markle said she did not collaborate with or authorize her five friends, who are referenced in the court documents, to give the interview.
“This shared frustration amongst the Claimant’s friends left everyone feeling silenced, as it appeared that other so-called sources were able to disseminate false statements about the Claimant, while the people who knew her best were told that they needed to remain silent,” the filing said. “The Claimant believes that it is probably because of this reason, as well as concerns about the press intrusion by the UK tabloids, that a few friends chose to participate and they did so anonymously.”