When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down from their positions as members of the Royal family, their decision to do so was heavily based on their determination to become financially independent private citizens — in other words, they didn't want the world to be in their business anymore. Since stepping away from the Firm, the couple has been fighting fiercely for their right to privacy, and a new legal development in one of their lawsuits may be the first step to making that happen.
Earlier, Meghan and Harry filed a lawsuit against British paparazzi agency Splash U.K for taking and distributing images of the former Duchess and her son going for a walk near their family home in Canada. The spouse's legal team accused the agency of invading their privacy in a major way; in order to take the photos and sell them, The Guardian reports that Splash U.K.'s photographers also executed a "a full reconnaissance inspection of the duke and duchess’s private home, walking around it looking to identify entry and exit points and putting his camera over the fence to take photographs."
The data protection and privacy suit spanned the course of several months, but on Friday December 18, both parties agreed to settle. As part of the settlement, Splash U.K. is legally prohibited from sharing any photos of Meghan, Harry, or baby Archie for the foreseeable future.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash U.K.," read a statement from Meghan and Harry's legal representation. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behaviour will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously - just as any family would.”
It is the first of several other lawsuits filed by the Sussexes to be resolved, including an ongoing case against Splash U.K.'s sister company in the United States. Meghan and Harry are also still in the middle of litigation against Mail on Sunday, suing the British outlet for publishing a personal letter written by the Duchess to her father Thomas Markle. That case has grown more complicated since it first began in October 2019, pulling in the couple's friends as well as royal correspondents Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand (authors of Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family) into the drama.
Meghan and Harry's win against Splash U.K. is. a big deal, but the couple's fight for privacy still wages on. As it turns out, stepping down from the Royal Family doesn't mean you've stepped out of the public eye.