Are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry hoping that the good will from their Africa trip will encourage support from their lawsuit? It would make sense.
On Tuesday, Prince Harry published an emotional open letter declaring that he and wife Meghan Markle are suing British tabloid the Mail and its parent company Associated Newspapers after the Mail published a private letter from Meghan to her father Thomas Markle in February of 2019. Prince Harry alleged that the Mail edited the letter in order to put a negative spin on Meghan.
“There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this [behavior], because it destroys people and destroys lives,” Prince Harry wrote. “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 Mail reportedly stands by their story and denies the letter to Markle was edited in anyway that changed its meaning, according to a statement from the outlet.
Some people suspect the timing of the lawsuit being made public correlates with the end of their trip to Africa, which has been warmly received by the international press. On the trip, Meghan engaged with leaders in the gender equality movement and talked with lawmakers to combat issues of sexism. The couple even met with Graça Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, who liked their vibes, and said that she could see herself working with them in the future.
Still, that doesn't mean that the press will continue to respond to Meghan fondly. Writer Michelle Ruiz commented on Twitter that the “positive wave of press is fleeting and it will be back to the racism soon enough,” suggesting that much of the hate thrown Meghan’s way has to do with people’s discomfort with a Black woman in the royal family.
In an interview with TODAY, royal commenter Victoria Arbiter noted that there is a perpetual double standard with Meghan when compared to other royals, and that she is the victim of perpetual "vicious" attacks from the tabloids. Arbiter discussed an instance in which Kate Middleton wore a one-shoulder dress to an event and was described as "ethereal," while Meghan's similar outfit at a separate event was called "vulgar."
Prince Harry is also not optimistic that the positivity from the British tabloids will continue.
“The positive coverage of the past week from these same publications exposes the double standards of this specific press pack that has vilified [Meghan] almost daily for the past nine months; they have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave,” reads Prince Harry’s statement. “She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.”
While The Daily Beast notes that Prince Harry and Meghan could be starting a “vicious war” with the media over their lawsuit — which could only make the coverage of the couple worse — it sounds like the royals are confident that they are doing the right thing. Prince Harry wrote in his letter that he was inspired to take a stand when he considered how the death of his mother, the late Princess Diana, could be partially blamed on tabloid culture: She was killed in a car accident after being relentlessly chased by paparazzi.
Still, it's possible that Prince Harry's letter backfires. The British tabloid is already defending itself, and with so much hate already geared towards Meghan, the lawsuit could poke the proverbial bear further. He acknowledged as much in his letter, writing "though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one." Will the people agree and throw their support behind the couple in the wake of their lawsuit — or side with the tabloids seemingly determined to cut them down?