Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are suing the publisher of the Daily Mail and a (virtual) hearing related to the case is happening today in London. For a play-by-play of the proceedings, Byline Investigates is live-tweeting:
As you can see from the latest tweets, the Sussex lawyer is namechecking reporters at the Daily Mail and seems to be suggesting that they be questioned at the upcoming trial. Also, there are a few dozen reporters from the British tabloids all listening in right now. Because, of course, it’s newsworthy. But remember, all week since Harry and Meghan sent them their “we are never ever ever getting back together" letter in those very papers, they’ve been publishing articles about how they don’t care about Harry and Meghan anymore.
As for that letter, there’s been a lot of commentary about whether or not it was necessary. I said here on this site and on the latest episode of Show Your Work that I didn’t love the move, that it did kinda feel like texting someone a week after you break up with them just to tell them that you’re still broken up. That’s my point of view on the public relations side of it. But this, of course, is not about PR, it’s about the law. And there could be a whole other legal explanation for why they had to send that letter, which was explained to me by a H.E. who is studying law in the UK. This is how H.E. breaks down Harry and Meghan’s letter from a legal perspective:
“It was absolutely necessary in light of the hearing and documents submitted for the trial (of which these letters were). Why? Even though they made their public statement on their site, the statement was not directed to each media outlet individually. It was a ‘general’ post. The best comparison I can make is say you have a stalker or some creepy guy showing pre-stalker signs, it’s critical to not only document his creepiness (keep all the emails etc) but also equally it’s critical, in the eyes of the law, to send him a direct message stating very explicitly that you don’t want to have anything to do with him. You do not, under any circumstances consent to his behavior. You never have and never will. Let’s say you didn’t do that but instead posted on your blog or SM account to the general public that this guy is a douche and you don’t want to see him ever again. Sure Sally, Tina, and Trey know your feelings but in a courtroom, it would be easy to pick apart. His lawyer could say, “Yeah but she never told him. He doesn’t read her blog. How was he supposed to know? She should have told him.” It’s slightly absurd, I know, but it’s absolutely necessary. It’s to prove, without a shred of doubt, that there was and never will be consent to engage. The general post argument, in a court, is based on an assumption that the stalker got the message. A direct message addressed to him guarantees he got the message. He may not like it and may ignore it, but the point is self-protection and proof of lack of consent and cooperation if one needs to go to court or even the police.
So in this case, we swap out the creep stalker with the creepy tabloid papers. Each one needed a letter addressed specifically to them clearly stipulating the terms of non-engagement/refusal to cooperate with them, i.e. no consent. It will be important evidence not just for this case but to ensure, post-trial (let’s say they win which it is likely, in my view, they will), the tabloids don’t try to kick up old sh-t and lie and say “no really, their ‘friend’ told us such and such went down.” The letters are important. No consent f-ckers. No consent.
Further, there’s no way their legal team would allow them to post something like that if its sole intention was to be petty etc as it would negatively impact the case. Rather, and most likely, they were advised to do it. Last year, amongst many UKSC tort cases, we studied Naomi Campbell’s invasion of privacy case (papped leaving/entering rehab). This case is similar but far more of a slamdunk for the Duchess and Duke. There’s so much deliberate malice from the papers.”
Thank you H.E.!
Now if there’s anyone else who knows UK law – and can back it up (H.E. sent me their credentials and I ran their message past a few legal contacts I have here in Canada) – with an opposing position on this situation, you are welcome to share it with me and I’ll consider posting it after I get it vetted to the best of my ability. Maybe we’ll do our own mini-trial here on the site.