The couple’s communications team will no longer take calls from those outlets, even to confirm whether reports are accurate.
The letter adds that Harry and Meghan “have watched people they know — as well as complete strangers — have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.”
Harry’s anger at the tabloids goes back to the death of his mother, Diana, whose car crashed in a Paris tunnel while she was being chased by paparazzi. In a blistering statement last fall, Harry wrote: “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
He issued that statement at the same time Meghan filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, for printing excerpts from a private letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, after her wedding on May 19, 2018. The case will be heard at London’s High Court on Friday.
Harry and Meghan say that the letter was published “unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner” and that the tabloid omitted “select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.”
In new court filings published Monday, and seen by ITV, Meghan’s lawyers also say that Associated Newspapers, in its defense documents, does not accurately portray the communications between the couple and Thomas Markle in the days before the wedding. The lawyers say Harry and Meghan’s attempts to reach out to her father largely went ignored.
“Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize, we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse,” Harry wrote on May 14.
The next day, Meghan texted her father to say: “I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts.”
A Mail on Sunday spokesman has said the publication “stands by the story it published and will be defending this case vigorously. Specifically, we categorically deny that the Duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.”
The hearing will be conducted remotely, in accordance with Britain’s guidelines on social distancing.
Even though they have given up their responsibilities as working royals and now live in Los Angeles, Harry and Meghan are still regular fixtures in the tabloids — and their statement this week is unlikely to change that.
David Yelland, a former editor of the Sun, told the BBC on Monday that Harry and Meghan may have endured stronger criticism in the press than most royals — including “an element of racism” in coverage of Meghan. But he questioned whether ending cooperation with the tabloids would change things for the better.
“The reality is it will have no positive effect whatsoever,” he said.
He added: “The world is in the middle of an immense crisis . . . and yet, this all-about-me stuff from them.”
The tabloids, too, pushed the notion that this faceoff is poorly timed.
The Daily Mail ran the headline: “ ‘We’re not talking to you anymore’: As thousands die and Britain fights for its economic life, LA-based Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they won’t deal with the country’s most popular newspapers.”
Andrew Neil, a prominent BBC presenter, wrote: “As the world grapples with Covid-19, do they really think people care what media they deal with? Their solipsism is amazing. Can’t they just consign themselves to oblivion for a while?”
Harry and Meghan are not deaf to the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic. Harry’s father, Prince Charles, has overcome a case of covid-19. And in a statement last month about their upcoming work, they wrote: “covid-19 has presented the world with one of the greatest public health and socio-economic challenges of modern times. It has also forced one of the biggest human behavioural changes in generations.”
Harry is working with a nonprofit organization to promote “responsible tourism” and help communities recover after travel restrictions are lifted.
In the letter sent to tabloid editors on Sunday, the couple’s representatives said the “media have every right to report on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie. They also want to be very clear: this is not in any way a blanket policy for all media.”