William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer
British royal family officials have announced that Prince Harry has filed a lawsuit against two popular British tabloids over the alleged hacking of his personal voicemails.
According to Time Magazine, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Oct. 5 that Prince Harry would be suing The Sun and the Daily Mirror, two of Britain’s most widely read tabloid magazines.
The Prince alleges that both media companies have hacked into his voicemails and other personal data numerous times over the past several years in order to fuel salacious stories about the royal family.
According to The Guardian, a British publication, the claim filed in the High Court of Britain could possibly be from years back, due to there being a six-year limit to file a claim with a court. It is likely, however, that the case will not go to court until after 2020.
Historically, the royal family has been cautious in pursuing legal action in any form; however, it is not unheard of.
According to Vanity Fair, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton sued a French magazine for publishing invasive photos of the Duchess while on vacation, and the Queen has sued British tabloids twice for copyright infringement.
Prince Harry’s lawsuit follows his wife, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, announcing that she would be taking legal action against another British tabloid, The Mail.
The Mail recently published a private letter Markle had written to her estranged father in 2018, in which she pleaded with him to stop speaking to the press concerning her and Prince Harry.
Markle has had a notably tense relationship with the media, due to out- lets often criticizing the American-born actress in comparison to other members of the royal family. Early in the couple’s relationship, Markle’s strained relationship with her father and half siblings became a common story in the press, and more recently, tabloids continue to publish stories alleging that Markle has had difficulty adjusting to royal life.
Madison Mckinney, a junior sports management major at Hampton University, thinks Markle’s lawsuit is completely justified.
“Meghan Markle has been heavily criticized by the British media, much like Princess Diana was,” Mckinney said. “And it seems to be a double standard, because the media does not report on Prince William and Kate nearly as much.”
Nicole Brown, a junior marketing major at Hampton University, supports the royal couple’s decision, as she believes that the Prince and Duchess should still have the right to privacy.
“Although Prince Harry and Meghan are public figures, I feel as though they should still have the right to a private life,” Brown said. “And if the tabloids refuse to respect that, then they will have to deal with the consequences.”
After Markle’s announcement, Prince Harry released a public statement claiming that his wife “has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences.”
The statement concludes with Prince Harry saying “my deepest fear is history repeating itself. 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.”
Sadly, Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car crash while trying to evade the paparazzi. Issues concerning privacy rights and public figures have always been prevalent in our society. This latest case reinvigorates the discussion about how far tabloid magazines should be able to invade a public figure’s privacy.