Pregnancy comes with all sorts of inherent stressors: worrying about the baby’s well-being, battling through morning sickness, agonizing over how much maternity leave to take. But as newly surfaced court documents in Meghan Markle’s media lawsuit reveal, the Duchess of Sussex was dealing with more than your average share of pregnancy anxiety — and that included feeling “unprotected” by the royal family from the relentless hounding and negative publicity from British tabloids.
It comes as little surprise that Meghan felt uncomfortable during her pregnancy with her and Prince Harry’s now-one-year-old son Archie. Since stepping down from their royal duties, they’ve alluded in interviews to how isolated she felt during that time. Court documents obtained by NBC News shine further light on Meghan’s overall wellbeing, though. The lawsuit alleges that Meghan suffered “tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health” after being targeted in “false” media reports.
What’s arguably more telling is the lawsuit’s reference to the royal family and how they compounded Meghan’s stress. Alluding to friends who stepped up to defend Meghan, the court documents state, “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”
The court documents are part of Meghan’s ongoing lawsuit against the publisher of the UK tabloids Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and MailOnline — the media outlets Meghan and Harry say were the worst of the UK media responsible for a campaign of harassment against Meghan.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the Daily Mail’s publishing of a private letter sent by Meghan to her estranged dad, Thomas Markle, after he missed her wedding to Harry. Her legal team has referred to the incident as a “gross violation” of privacy.
Meghan is seeking damages, but she has pledged to donate them to an anti-bullying charity.
Before you go, click here to revisit Meghan and Harry’s relationship timeline.