Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, felt “unprotected by the Institution” of the monarchy and was “prohibited from defending herself” against media reports while pregnant, according to court documents seen by the BBC.
The documents are part of Markle’s ongoing legal battle against Associated Newspapers, publishers of outlets The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online. She sued the group for breach of privacy and copyright infringement after the Mail published excerpts from a 2018 letter Markle sent to her father Thomas Markle Sr. Associated Newspapers denies her claims.
“The Claimant had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the U.K. tabloid media, specifically by the Defendant, which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health,” an excerpt from the documents read, referring to an interview that five of Markle’s friends gave to a U.S. publication in February 2019.
“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 papers, seen by the BBC, reveal that Markle’s team estimated tourism revenues generated from her wedding to Prince Harry at £1 billion ($1.25 billion), far more than the security costs of the event, which were paid for by U.K. taxpayers.
Variety has reached out to Markle’s legal representatives but did not hear back by press time.
If Markle wins the case, she will donate the damages to an anti-bullying charity. However, in an April virtual hearing, a judge removed some parts of her claim, including the allegation that the publisher was “dishonest” for publishing portions of the letter selectively, and that they had an “agenda” of publishing offensive stories about her.
Markle and Prince Harry retired from senior royalty in March and have since moved to California.