Meghan Markle was 'unprotected by the Institution' after media attacks, court papers say

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
JJOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the British High Commissioner's residence to attend an afternoon reception to celebrate the UK and South Africa’s important business and investment relationship, looking ahead to the Africa Investment Summit the UK will host in 2020. This is part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal tour to South Africa. on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan says her friends saw she was unprotected by the Royal Family. (WireImage)

Meghan Markle felt “unprotected” by the Royal Family and the institution of the monarchy after she was attacked in the press, according to court documents.

Leaked papers show Meghan was “prohibited from defending herself” when allegations were made in newspapers.

The papers form part of her legal battle against the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline, who she is suing for breach of copyright after parts of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, were published.

Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), the publisher of the two titles, says the letter was no longer private because it had been alluded to by Meghan’s friends in an article given to People magazine.

The Duchess of Sussex previously indicated she did not give permission for the friends to speak to the publication.

Read more: Why is Meghan Markle suing the Mail on Sunday?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, on day two of the royal couple's visit to Fiji. (Photo by Phil Noble/PA Images via Getty Images)
Meghan is taking legal action against ANL over a letter she wrote to her father. (Getty Images)

The friend are not named, but are referred to as A-E. They are named in undisclosed court documents, and one of them has been a friend of Meghan’s father’s for more than 20 years.

The papers also claim Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding generated more than £1bn in tourist revenue.

The documents say: “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.

“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 friends went to People magazine last year to defend Meghan and speak about the bullying she had faced.

One of the friends had referred to the letter to the magazine, saying: “She’s like, ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship’.”

Read more: Harry and Meghan's private texts to Thomas Markle revealed in court documents

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19:  Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Sussex depart after their wedding ceremonyat St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Her father never made it to her wedding, and their relationship broke down. (Getty Images)

Meghan then called a friend distressed about the content of the article.

More details have also emerged in the documents about how Meghan prepared for her father to come to her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

Documents show Meghan had booked Mr Markle an appointment with a tailor in Los Angeles, using a pseudonym so he would avoid attention, and a stay in the city for three days.

She had paid for his flights and accommodation and for a “dedicated assistant” to shadow him when he got to the UK. He was due to arrive three days before their wedding.

Meghan’s relationship with her father became strained and broke down after he staged paparazzi photographs in the weeks before the wedding, near his home in Mexico.

He reportedly pulled out of the ceremony to avoid embarrassing his daughter, but then couldn’t walk her down the aisle after undergoing heart surgery.

Read more: Eight times the Royal Family has sued the media

The documents give more details of Meghan’s attempts to call him, and deny that his number was blocked.

It also confirms that Mr Markle, 75, has never met his grandson, Archie, or his son-in-law, Prince Harry.

Meghan’s court case against ANL got off to a rocky start when a judge ruled against her, indicating that she had to strike out several aspects of her case.

The judge, Mr Justice Warby, struck out parts of her claim, including that the newspapers acted dishonestly in only using segments of the letter to her father, and that it “stirred up” issues between father and daughter.

ANL denies the claims, particularly that the letter was edited in a way which changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.