The news of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s unprecedented legal action against the British media made headlines last month, and now the public is learning about some of the news stories that spurred the lawsuit.
Byline Investigates obtained court documents that were recently filed in Meghan’s High Court action against the Associated Newspapers, and the docs detail many of the 38-year-old’s grievances.
For one, Meghan’s lawyers take issue with the Mail on Sunday’s publication of a letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. The paper purportedly published the note “in full” but the Duchess of Sussex’s lawyers claim that the newspaper published little more little more than half of the five-page note, according to the court docs.
“The omitted parts demonstrate the Claimant’s care for her father and others, as well as her concern about the UK tabloid media exploiting her father, and the fact that she addresses untruths previously published by the Defendant,” the docs assert. “Those elements did not fit the Defendant’s narrative within the Articles.”
Additionally, Meghan’s lawyers contest the assertion that Thomas, 75, called Meghan to say that he could not attend her May 2018 wedding after his heart attack and that Meghan didn’t ask about his wellbeing: “The true position is that the Claimant has a long history of looking after her father’s welfare and trying to find solutions to any health problem … She had reached out to him prior to the wedding and sought to protect him, as well as to ensure that he would be able to come to the wedding.”
Meghan’s team is also hitting out at reporting about her mother, Doria Ragland — specifically the news that Ragland was “spotted alone” while the duchess “partie[d] alone with famous friends at her $300k baby shower” in New York City in February 2019.
“The suggestion that the Claimant deliberately left out her mother from her baby shower and ditched her in favour of her famous friends is untrue and offensive to her,” the docs state. “The Claimant’s mother was of course invited, and the Claimant also offered to buy her airline tickets. However, her mother was unable to attend due to work commitments.” Furthermore, the lawyers state the shower “actually cost a tiny fraction of the $300k falsely stated in the article.”
The court docs also dispute the claims about Frogmore Cottage, the Windsor home Meghan and Harry share with their son, 6-month-old Archie — specifically the reports that the royal couple upgraded the home with a $6,475 copper bath and $647,550 of soundproofing.
Meghan’s lawyers also denied that the couple had added a yoga studio, tennis court and guest wing to the cottage.
“The clear intention was to portray the Claimant in a damaging light by suggesting that she had indulged in this series of absurdly lavish renovations, which were in fact false (as the Defendant was informed at the time) and entirely made up,” the lawyers attest. “Furthermore, the Defendant sought to portray these renovations as being done at ‘the taxpayer’s expense,’ costing ‘£2.4m [$3.1 million] of YOUR cash.’ This was also false and misleading.”
The lawyers continue: “In fact, the Cottage is a grade 2-listed 17th century residence, which was already undergoing much-needed renovation for safety, and its refurbishment back to its original state as a single-family home was funded by Her Majesty the Queen, as part of her obligation and responsibility to maintain or refurbish the upkeep of buildings of historical significance through a portion of the sovereign grant, made in exchange for the revenue from her Crown Estate (which is several times the amount of the sovereign grant).”
A source told Us Weekly in October that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to take legal action wasn’t “about one negative story or incident” but instead an “accumulation.”
“Harry refuses to sit and do nothing as the British press scrutinizes Meghan and invades her privacy,” the source added. “Meghan comes across as a strong woman, but she’s been deeply affected by the negative stories about her.”
According to Byline Investigates, Associated Newspapers hasn’t yet filed a defense to the claim but is denying any misuse of private information, breach of copyright or data protection infringement.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!