More information has come to light about Meghan's lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday and other tabloid newspapers. While I will continue to cover this court case as more details are officially shared, I do want to share a disclaimer since I have seen how upset several factions of royal watchers have been about this.
I do not work in the law, and I do not pretend to know or understand the privacy laws that are relevant to this case. Like everyone else, I am only aware of what has been published and I am fully cognizant of the fact that the public only has a fraction of the information about this case. Therefore, any opinions expressed are just that, opinions. As the case progresses, it could very easily change my current opinion and I have no issues in reassessing my thoughts on a subject when presented with new information.
I do however want to continue to cover this on here as I know it is of interest not only to me but fans on all sides of royal watching. So here we go.
The Duchess of Sussex has responded to questions from Associated Papers in her privacy case against the Mail on Sunday. Most of the questions presented by Associated were to do with the People magazine article in which some of the Duchesses friends spoke with the U.S. tabloid in defense of Meghan. It was in this article that the letter she wrote to her father and is now suing over was first mentioned.
Meghan denied having any involvement in the article and said she was not aware that her friends were planning on speaking to People. In the filing she shared that her friends were concerned for her mental health and wanted to defend her against damaging articles that were being published daily. The filing goes on to say that she felt "unprotected by the Institution" and was "prohibited from defending herself"
The documents went on to say that the stance of "no comment" was taken by the KP communications team, as is the standard practice for royal communications. They continue on to say that this stance was not discussed or approved by Meghan and she would have requested they share that she was not involved in the People magazine article.
She shares in these documents that she did not discover which friends spoke to People until some time after the article was published and she had no forward knowledge that her friends were doing this. Meghan does say that she discussed the letter with two of her friends in confidence and she did not expect them to share that private information with the press.
From my understanding, there are two main points in this case that the judge will need to rule on. Firstly, is whether or not the letter she had written to her father was in the public domain already because her friends had shared some of it with People. Her father, Thomas Markle, claims he sold the letter to the Mail on Sunday in response to the People article because he felt he needed to defend himself against Meghan's five friends.
The second part would be is if she had a reasonable expectation that this letter would remain private. From my understanding, if the Judge believes that Meghan never intended for this letter to be released, and that the letter is not in the public interest, then the papers could be in breach of her privacy and copyright. This is something that only the Judge can decide and I would not presume to even guess at the legalities behind it.
From my perspective, the entire case is turning out to be a lot sadder than I imagined it could be. If what Meghan has shared is true, and I see no reason for her to lie in court documents, she had five friends go behind her back and betray her trust. Even if their intentions were good, having her friends release private information about her relationship with her father to a tabloid without her knowledge or consent goes against some of the most basic tenants of friendship. I am not sure how she could remain friends with people who would break her confidence as friendships should be built on trust.
I also sympathize with the fact that she wanted to defend herself against some of these articles. It is only natural that someone would want to share their side of the story when they are feeling attacked. I believe any normal human being would want to do the same in her shoes.
I do, however, understand that the Palace does rarely comments on tabloid stories. They have prescribed to the "never complain, never explain" PR tactic for decades and, historically, it has worked for them. I can think of only two instances when the family has commented on stories since I began Royal Watching over a decade ago and in both instances, it backfired tremendously.
I don't believe the Palace was saying "no comment" to hurt Meghan or be malicious. I think they were going with the PR move that has worked for the Queen through her 68 year reign and I think they believed it would work for Meghan as well. Of course, what works for one person doesn't work for another and this clearly didn't work for Meghan.
Prior to her marriage, Meghan was able to defend herself and able to speak directly to her fans whenever it suited her. Having that direct communication taken away would have been a massively challenging adjustment and it was something that clearly left Meghan feeling unprotected.
I truly don't believe that the firm wanted her to feel this way, I think they tried to welcome her and to give her advice that had worked for them in the past. As many others have brought up, they invited her to Sandringham for Christmas before her wedding and the Queen rode with her on a joint engagement to Cheshire. I think the Royals saw this as the best show of support they could manage without speaking out directly.
But there was a lot more at play in Meghan's case than previous Royal Brides. She was biracial and American, the experiences that shaped her growing up were completely different than Camilla or Catherine or Sophie.
The three of them grew up in the U.K. in relatively stable families that had economic benefits that Meghan didn't. Meanwhile, before her marriage, Meghan immigrated to a new country with a completely different culture than she was accustomed to. She had to adjust to U.K. tabloids and media while also trying to learn Royal customs and traditions. When considering these things, it makes sense that the tactics that had worked for other royal brides may not work for Meghan.
I am incredibly sympathetic to how Meghan must have felt but I also don't believe the Palace was trying to hurt her or leave her vulnerable. Honestly, I think the palace has probably been focusing on the next stage, planning for Charles to take over as the Queen enters her mid-nineties. I think they were paying more attention to William and Catherine, trying to ensure they would be ready to become the Prince and Princess of Wales. I think they assumed that Harry and Meghan would make it through the first couple years until the attention died down as it did for other siblings of future kings.
I am not saying that this was right of them because they obviously should have done more for Harry and Meghan but I don't think this was done maliciously. I think that they tried to use the same tactics that had worked for William & Catherine for Harry & Meghan. But doing this would be like trying to fix a scraped knee and a broken arm the same way. They are completely different issues and clearly needed different solutions.
I am sympathetic to both sides and I sincerely hope the best for both Harry & Meghan as well as the Firm. What I am less sympathetic to is having this play out in public court. As I shared on Twitter, I wish this could have been handled privately without accusations being thrown around in the public domain. Especially since the crux of this case is supposed to be about fighting for their privacy and, to me, it feels like they are accomplishing the exact opposite since everything is now becoming public.
I wish the firm would have supported Harry and Meghan in a way that would have allowed them to continue to be working Royals. But I also wish that Harry and Meghan could have been slightly more patient and worked out a solution before making announcements via Instagram or throwing accusations in court documents. What I really wish is that all parties could have communicated better and really listened and understood one another to come up with a viable solution before all of this mess became so public. xx