Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released a statement with details of their plan to sue the Mail on Sunday. Here is their statement in full and the reactions so far on Twitter.
Harry made the announcement in a strong statement released on Tuesday (1 October). Referring to the treatment of Meghan in the press, Harry detailed how he can no longer remain a “silent witness to her private suffering”. He also compared the treatment of Meghan to that experienced by his mother, Princess Diana.
The statement came as the couple were about to start the final day of their South Africa tour in Johannesburg on Wednesday. They have spent the last nine days meeting organisations and individuals to discuss issues such as mental health, wildlife conservation and female empowerment.
People on Twitter have come out in support of the royal couple. Ellen De Generes expressed her pride in the couple, saying “enough is enough”. Labour MP Jess Phillips said Harry is completely right to “silence bullying lies”. And Jameela Jamil exclaimed “YEAH HARRY”.
The statement in full reads:
“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.”
Twitter has reacted to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s statement
The Mail on Sunday said in a statement: “The Mail on Sunday stands by the story it published and will be defending this case vigorously.
“Specifically, we categorically deny that the Duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”