Meghan Markle felt "unprotected" by the royal family during her pregnancy, and was unable to defend herself against scrutiny from media outlets, newly released court documents reportedly reveal.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing the parent company for the U.K. news and gossip outlet, MailOnline, for an article that included reproduced parts of a handwritten note she sent to her father, Thomas, in August of 2018.
In the lawsuit, Markle reportedly revealed the identities of five close friends who spoke with People magazine for a story critical of her father and also claimed that the friends felt motivated to defend the duchess due to inaction from the royal family.
As the MailOnline reported, the court documents showed that Markle sent the letter to her father in an effort to stop him from being "manipulated" by the press. It also showed that the duchess did not believe that the monarchy was protecting her against unfair scrutiny.
"The Duchess felt 'unprotected' by the 'institution' of the Royal Family and was prevented from defending herself, which left her friends 'rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant,'" the report also revealed.
As the report added, the court trial is expected to focus on whether Markle had a reasonable expectation of privacy for the content of the letter given that her friends gave general details of it to People magazine for its report.
The British media has come under scrutiny for its coverage of Markle, which many of her supporters say is rooted in racism. As The Inquisitr reported, friend Priyanka Chopra said that racism played a role in the way the duchess had been portrayed in the media.
"For sure, 100 percent. Of course it has to do with racism, it's an obvious reason. But the beauty of Meg is that she's been herself through all of this," Chopra said in an interview with the Sunday Times.
This racism often seeped into social media as well, with many users posting racist comments on the Kensington Palace Instagram page, directed at the duchess.
This criticism from the media and the lack of protection from the royal family was reportedly a major factor in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry deciding to step back from their royal duties and move away from England.
In late 2019, the couple moved to Vancouver Island in Canada, officially stepping back from the monarchy while still remaining active in a number of charitable causes.