In October, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle launched a lawsuit against U.K. newspaper the Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers.
The royals claim the paper committed a misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 when it printed a private letter reportedly written by Meghan to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
Shortly after, Prince Harry launched another formal legal claim against two other U.K. tabloids over alleged phone hacking.
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“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” Prince Harry said in an official statement published to the Sussexes’ website in 2019.
It continues: “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”
The question in these lawsuits, said Vancouver lawyer Rose Keith, is whether Meghan Markle had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when she wrote that letter to her father.
Keith admits the U.K. processes are different than those in Canada, but she predicts a number of factors would affect the outcome of the suit, regardless of location.
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Meghan Markle’s status as a public figure of interest could also come into play.
In law, there are two different standards: an objective standard and a subjective standard. The former is the reasonable person in that person’s circumstances, and the latter is the person’s personal feelings on things.
Although the subject matter of these lawsuits is certainly unique, this isn’t the first time members of the royal family have made legal claims against media and other corporations.