Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, felt “unprotected” by the British royal family while she was pregnant with her son Archie, according to London High Court documents filed as part of her legal action against a tabloid newspaper.
Meghan, wife of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince Harry, is suing publisher Associated Newspapers over articles its Mail on Sunday newspaper printed last year which included parts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
Markle and his daughter have not spoken since he pulled out of appearing at her wedding to Harry in May 2018 after undergoing heart surgery and following news he had staged photos with a paparazzi photographer.
The Mail justified publishing the letter by saying five unnamed friends of Meghan, who gave birth to Archie in May 2019, had put her version of events in interviews with the US magazine People.
Her legal team say it was untrue she had authorised or arranged for her friends to tell People about the letter.
“The Claimant had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media, specifically by the Defendant, which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health,” her lawyers said in a submission to the High Court.
“As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”
The couple are now living in Los Angeles after stepping down from royal duties at the end of March. Harry said he had fallen out with his elder brother, Prince William, and Meghan has spoken of a lack of support when pregnant and as a new mother.
They have also said media intrusion, and what they believe are some newspapers’ racist coverage towards Meghan, whose mother is African-American and father is white, were behind their decision.
The trial for Meghan’s case is not expected this year. But in May, the judge rejected part of her claim that the paper had acted dishonestly and stoked the rift with her father.
Last week, Harry said he regretted racism was “still endemic” in society in comments for The Diana Award, established in memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in 1997 while fleeing paparazzi.