While on one of their last tour stops in Johannesburg, South Africa, the duke and duchess appeared hand in hand to address a group of young entrepreneurs at the Youth Employment Service in the township of Tembisa.
Though the Duke of Sussex didn’t directly address the lawsuit released on Tuesday, his impassioned speech touched on similar themes of serving justice.
“We will firmly stand up for what we believe,” he said. “We are fortunate enough to have a position that gives us amazing opportunities and we will do everything that we can to play our part in building a better world.”
“We will always seek to challenge injustice and to speak out for those who may feel unheard,” the 35-year-old continued. “So no matter your background, your nationality, your age or gender, your sexuality, your physical ability, no matter your circumstance or colour of your skin — we believe in you, and we intend to spend our entire lives making sure you have the opportunity to succeed and change the world.”
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The official statement announced the couple’s lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday as well as its parent company, Associated Newspapers, alleging the U.K. tabloid illegally published a private letter Markle wrote to her father last year.
A spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday told the BBC the publication stands by its reporting.
Prince Harry’s statement also claimed Markle has been subject to bullying over the past year.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” the statement reads.
It continues: “Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations — something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.”
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As most royal watchers know, Prince Harry and Prince William lost their mother, Princess Diana, in a car crash in 1997. The Mercedes-Benz S280 sedan in which Diana was a passenger smashed into the concrete wall of Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel as the car was being pursued by paparazzi.
In his statement, Prince Harry touched on his mother’s death.
“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he wrote.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized 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.”
The private letter to which the statement refers is one Markle reportedly wrote her father, Thomas Markle, prior to the royal wedding last year.
According to the prince’s official statement, the lawsuit is being privately funded by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Proceeds from any damages will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
The new mom has been a target of British tabloids ever since she was officially linked to Prince Harry in 2016. This isn’t the first time the duke has released a formal statement regarding Markle’s treatment by the media.
In November 2016, a formal statement was released by Prince Harry’s communication secretary noting the “significant curiosity about his private life.”
— With a file from Chris JancelewiczFollow @meaghanwray
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