Prince Harry finally took a stand against the negative press that his wife, Meghan Markle has constantly been receiving with a strongly worded statement during the couple’s Africa n tour. However, the decision to reveal their thoughts and the fact that they were taking legal action is something that has reportedly led to some concern.
According to The Times (via Express UK), senior aides warned the Prince that the timing of the announcement wasn’t considered ideal, especially since the tour he and Markle were on was being so positively received. The fear was that it would push the positive conversation about the tour “off the news agenda” and replace it with news of both the statement and the couple’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers.
However, the release of the statement wound up happening not because the Prince was actively ignoring his advisors and their advice, but because of the filing of the legal case, with a source saying “The timing was based on specific legal evidence.”
The lawsuit is specifically against the parent company of the Mail on Sunday, which had previously published parts of a private letter that had been sent to the Duchess of Sussex by her estranged father, Thomas Markle Senior. According to the website housing the statement, the couple is suing over misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the data Protection Act of 2018.
Of course, while the timing was considered unfortunate, the fact that Prince Harry is taking a stand isn’t the first time a member of the royal family had done so in order to protect someone from invasive amounts of press coverage and the paparazzi.
Prince Edward famously made a statement in 1993 asking for privacy for his future wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, while they were dating, and, notably after Princess Diana’s death in 1997, legal action was taken to protect Kate Middleton after she continued to be hounded by the press for years before her engagement to Prince William.
A new privacy strategy for the royals was enacted in 2009 which allowed members of the royal family to take legal action against any photographers who they saw exhibiting “intrusive and unacceptable behavior.”
Action had also been taken prior to then on Middleton’s behalf after photographs of her playing on Prince Charles’ tennis courts during a vacation were taken. The Queen stepped in and forbade the photos to be published by UK publications at the time, though they were eventually published in German papers.