Prince Harry’s Lawsuit Against Tabloids Likely Won’t Change Anything — Here’s Why

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started off their big trip to Africa on a high note. The couple arrived with baby Archie in tow, looking laid-back, happy, and ready to spread goodwill. The press and the locals were loving them. But then a couple of days before the tour concluded, the Duke of Sussex dropped a bombshell that tainted the entire trip.

Fed up with the constant negativity regarding his wife Meghan Markle, Prince Harry announced that he’d be pursuing legal action against the British tabloid Mail on Sunday. This has to do with the letters between Markle and her father, which he said were, “published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner.”  

But is this lawsuit meant to send a message to the media, or does the Duke of Sussex really expect it to inspire real change? Here’s why there’s little chance of this lawsuit making any real difference.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

British tabloids are incredibly popular

While American audiences may not give much credit to tabloids, those types of newspapers have a whole different status on the other side of the pond. The so-called “red top press,” which derives its nickname from the bold color choice used for headlines, are still massively popular in British culture today. And one lawsuit isn’t going to change that.

As Vox reported, six out of the ten most circulated newspapers in the UK are tabloids. Media professor Charles Beckett described them as publications that, “both hounds the famous and the powerful and tramples on the ordinary citizen.” It’ll take more than a royal lawsuit to take down these powerful, prominent papers.

UK tabloids
UK tabloids | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The royal family took the tabloids to task before

This isn’t the first time the British royal family took a stand against shady tabloid dealings. Back in 2012, Prince William and Kate Middleton sued a French magazine that published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless on vacation. Even Princess Diana sued and reached a settlement deal with the Daily Mirror for photos they published of her exercising.

At heart, Prince Harry is angry with the tabloids for their treatment of his wife, his late mother, and himself. “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior because it destroys people and destroys lives,” he said in a statement. Prince Harry also mentioned that his mother Princess Diana was a “victim to the same powerful forces” that eventually cost Princess Diana her life.

He said his “deepest fear is history repeating itself.”

Prince Harry
Prince Harry | KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/Getty Images

Mail on Sunday defended their choice to publish the letter

Instead of backing down in the face of a massive royal lawsuit, a spokesperson for Mail on Sunday instead defended their tactics and their decision to publish the letter Meghan Markle sent to her father.

“The Mail on Sunday 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,” they said in a statement.

It sounds like this will be an interesting court battle if no settlement is reached before the case goes to trial. Will tabloid culture change forever because Prince Harry wants it to?

It doesn’t seem likely, but stranger things have happened.