The Duchess of Sussex has claimed she felt “unprotected” by the Royal Family, explosive court papers have revealed. Meghan, 38, is suing a newspaper publisher, saying stories about her caused “tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health”. Her friends were “rightly concerned for her welfare” while she was pregnant, the documents add.
The Duchess took legal action after a newspaper published parts of a handwritten letter to her father. She is suing for breach of privacy, copyright and under data protection laws. In submissions responding to questions from the publisher, Meghan’s lawyers said: “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 lawyers were responding to questions on why five of her friends chose to brief US celebrity magazine People about what they claimed was harsh treatment meted out to her in British media coverage while she was pregnant.
The magazine article made claims about stories describing alleged behind-the-scenes rows.
Meghan has now identified the five friends, who spoke on condition of anonymity to People, in a confidential submission to the court.
But in the papers made public yesterday they are referred to as A, B, C, D and E.
They could be called to give evidence about the claims they made when the case begins.
Meghan has insisted that she had no idea they were talking to the magazine to defend her.
The case will take place at the High Court in London, possibly later this year.
In May at a preliminary hearing, Mr Justice Warby struck out parts of Meghan’s claim, including allegations that the newspaper dishonestly “stirred up” issues with her father and had an agenda against her.
In the same court documents her legal team also claimed that Harry and Meghan’s wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 raised £1billion in tourist revenue.
Although there is little concrete evidence to support the claim – a figure of £300million is thought to be more likely – her lawyers alleged that the income to Britain from the wedding “far outweighed” the contribution paid by the taxpayer for security.
Meghan has pointed out that Prince Charles paid for most of the wedding costs, saying it was “not, in fact, publicly funded but rather personally financed by HRH the Prince Of Wales”.
In her submission, her team added: “Any public costs incurred for the wedding were solely for security and crowd control to protect members of the public, as deemed necessary by Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police.”
The Duchess quit royal life in March and subsequently settled in Los Angeles with Prince Harry.
Father and daughter have not spoken since Thomas Markle, 75, pulled out of the royal wedding after claiming he had suffered a heart attack.
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Mail on Sunday.