Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship
Prince Harry has voiced his anger at the “relentless propaganda” being pitched against his wife, Meghan, from the British tabloid press.
Referencing the coverage his mother Princess Diana received, the Duke said his “deepest fear is history repeating itself”.
In a powerfully personal statement, he wrote: “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person.
“I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
He goes on: "There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."
Harry's statement was issued as it was revealed Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has started legal action against the Mail on Sunday newspaper over an allegation it unlawfully published one of her private letters.
ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship says he's "astonished by the ferocity and timing" of the statement from Harry
Law firm Schillings, representing the duchess, said she had filed a High Court claim against the paper and its parent company Associated Newspapers over the alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.
A spokesperson for the firm claimed the “intrusive” publication of the letter was part of the media group’s campaign to write “false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband”.
The newspaper said it "stands by" the story it published and will "defend" it "vigorously".
In a lengthy and highly personal statement published on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official website on Tuesday, Harry said the royal couple had been driven to take legal action after “painful” impact of “relentless propaganda” against his wife from the British tabloid press.
The legal proceedings in the Chancery Division of the High Court are being privately funded by Harry and Meghan.
Depending on the court ruling, proceeds from any damages will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
The Schillings spokeswoman added: “Given the refusal of Associated Newspapers to resolve this issue satisfactorily, we have issued proceedings to redress this breach of privacy, infringement of copyright and the aforementioned media agenda”.
In a statement the Mail on Sunday said it "stands by the story it published and will be defending this case vigorously.
"Specifically, we categorically deny that the Duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning."
Read the statement from the Duke of Sussex in full below
As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.