Explained: Prince Harry's and Meghan Markle's endless legal battle with the British press
London, United Kingdom - Putting an entire ocean between them and their family, Duchess Meghan, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, bid farewell to the royals. But "Megxit" was also a reckoning with the British press.
Nearly a year after their move, the couple's legal battle with the British newspapers rages on, as Harry and Meghan have repeatedly seen their privacy invaded by the British newspapers.
The couple last secured a win in their fight to regain some privacy in October when they settled a lawsuit against paparazzi agency X17. The agency had taken drone photos of the royal couple's son, Archie, while he was playing in the garden of a residence in Beverly Hills.
However, the Duchess of Sussex’s legal battle with the publishers of the Mail on Sunday continues. Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy, infringement of data protection rights and copyright infringement for printing extracts of a confidential letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
During a two-day virtual hearing which began Tuesday, January 19, Meghan's lawyers have appealed for a summary judgement - a legal step which would see her case against Associated Newspapers resolved by a judge's ruling as opposed to a full trial.
However, lawyers for Associated Newspapers Ltd have asked the judge to reject Meghan’s application.
The press is making money off the royals' lives
For the British tabloids, Prince Harry has been easy prey since his teenage years.
While big brother Prince William is much more reserved, Harry has always been the carefree rebel of the royal family – which also proved to be the perfect recipe for a ton of scandals.
From naked Harry, raging Harry, and Casanova Harry, to Harry in a Nazi costume, the Duke of Sussex was never far from the headlines.
Following each and every step the royals take is a storied British tradition. The Sun, The Daily Mail, and many other tabloids report on just about every passing gesture, designer suit, and – naturally – every word that comes out of a Windsor's mouth.
When former actor Meghan Markle brought with her a new touch of glamour, as well as her African-American heritage, to the royal family in 2018, the newspapers went on the rampage: their coverage ranged from frenzy of enthusiasm and voyeuristic paparazzi coverage, to distinctly racist comments.
Prince Harry likened his wife's painful experiences with the British press to those of his mother, Princess Diana (†36). "I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces," he wrote in a statement in October 2019.
"My deepest fear is history repeating itself."
The couple wants to be in the spotlight – but on their own terms
Even though the couple wants to continue to make a living from their spotlight, they want to do so on their own terms.
They announced a multimillion dollar contract with Netflix and hinted at features and shows coming out in the future.
The two have also released their first podcast at the end of 2020 through their multi-year deal with Spotify. In the first episode, their one-year-old son ends up stealing the show with an unexpected appearance.
Whether they are publishing streaming content, tightly curated photo ops, or writing op-eds for The New York Times, Harry and Meghan want to pull the strings when it comes to their own publicity.
Cover photo: imago images / PA Images