Ever since her relationship with Prince Harry was first announced, Meghan Markle has been dealing with endless invasive, cruel, and often blatantly racist coverage from the British tabloids (and let’s be real, the American ones too). No topic was off-limits, and the coverage relished in exposing painfully personal aspects of Markle’s difficult relationship with her father and other family members to the general public. It’s no secret that the tabloid’s relentless harassment of Markle was one factor that contributed to the couple’s decision to leave the royal family just over a year ago.
But on Thursday, Meghan and Prince Harry finally got to say a (symbolic) fuck you to the tabloids when a High Court judge ruled that by publishing a personal letter that she had sent to her father in several articles, The Mail on Sunday had invaded Markle’s privacy. The lawsuit, which they filed in late 2019, was specifically over a letter that Markle had written her father soon after he failed to attend her wedding. (I obviously won’t link to the articles here, since that would basically undermine the entire point of this blog.)
About his ruling, Judge Mark Warby said:
“It was, in short, a personal and private letter. The majority of what was published was about the claimant’s own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father’s behaviour – as she saw it – and the resulting rift between them. These are inherently private and personal matters.
The claimant had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private. The articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”
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Absolutely! What else would you call it when a tabloid with an international readership and a vendetta against you publishes a deeply personal letter you wrote to your father about your fraught relationship and the pain that causes you? That’s the type of violation that no one should be subjected to, regardless of what other parts of their life might be in the public eye.
In a statement about the Thursday court ruling, Markle wrote:
“These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence. For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep...
But for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won. We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody’s privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has blatantly done over the past two years. I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.”
Although one court ruling can’t begin to make up for the years of vicious harassment that Markle has been subjected to by the U.K. tabloids, I’m sure it’ll help her rest a little easier tonight.