Many of these stories, the couple’s lawyers say, were written to portray the Duchess “in a damaging light.”
Last month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took an unprecedented step in their relationship with the media: they decided to sue the publisher of The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday over alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act of 2018. The lawsuit seems to be proceeding at a rapid pace, because independent outlet Byline Investigates just obtained some of the first court documents from the case, which outline and correct multiple libellous “reports” that have been published about the Duchess and various aspects of her life.
Her relationship with her father
In reference to the private letter Meghan Markle wrote to her father ahead of her wedding, which was published without consent in the Mail on Sunday, Markle’s lawyers point out that only certain sections were printed in the paper in order to mischaracterize its intent, going on to clarify some details about her relationship with her father.
“The true position is that the Claimant [Meghan] has a long history of looking after her father’s welfare and trying to find solutions to any health problems… she did provide extensive financial support for him, as well as act as primary caregiver for her grandmother… her father did not telephone her to explain that he was not coming to her wedding,” the documents read. “Her team in Los Angeles did provide him with continued support for which he had expressed gratitude… 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… she did not ignore him afterwards.”
Her relationship with her mother
They also address reports alleging that Markle’s mother Doria Ragland was not invited to her baby shower in New York, clarifying that “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.” The documents also counter reported figures claiming the shower cost $300,000, saying that “[it] actually cost a tiny fraction of the $300k falsely stated in the article.”
Her new family home with Prince Harry
The documents also correct multiple false stories that have been published about the Duchess’s newly married life in the Daily Mail, including that she had renovated Frogmore Cottage to include a yoga studio, orangery, guest wing, copper bath, and tennis court. The documents say these things were written “to portray the Claimant in a damaging light by suggesting that she had indulged in this series of absurdly lavish renovations.” The Mail had also said that the refurbishment used taxpayer dollars, when in reality, Harper’s Bazaar notes, “it was subsidized by the Queen as part of her financial duties to maintain royal residences, per the legal claims.”
Her biracial background and California upbringing
The Sussexes’ legal team also notes the blatantly racist tone of headlines like, “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed—so will he be dropping by for tea?”, which appeared in the Daily Mail. According to the court documents, “The statement that the Claimant lived or grew up in Compton (or anywhere near to it) is false. The fact that the Defendant chose to stereotype this entire community as being ‘plagued by crime and riddled with street gang’ and thereby suggest (in the first few days of her relationship being revealed) that the Claimant came from a crime-ridden neighborhood is completely untrue as well as intended to be divisive. The Claimant will also refer to the fact that the article cites her aunt as living in ‘gang-afflicted Inglewood’ in order to bolster this negative and damaging impression of where this (black) side of her family is said to come from. In fact, Ava Burrow (said to be ‘the actress’’ aunt’) is not her Aunt or any blood relation at all, a fact which if correctly stated would have undermined the narrative which the Defendant was intended to convey.”
The documents go on to address numerous other false stories, such as the resignation of the royal couple’s former aide Samantha Cohen, who tabloids say left her position because the Duchess was too demanding, and the absurd claim that the community kitchen Markle has supported and worked with on a cookbook has connections to Islamic jihadists. Stay tuned for more updates from the Sussexes’ ongoing battle with the British tabloids.