October 29, 2019 / 5:24 PM / 19 days ago

British lawmakers stand in solidarity with Meghan Markle

LONDON (Reuters) - Women lawmakers from across Britain’s political spectrum have expressed solidarity with Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, in the stand she is taking against the media over stories about her character and family.

Britain's Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, leaves after meeting academics and students for a roundtable discussion on female access to higher education with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, at the University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Earlier this month, Markle began legal action against a newspaper in response to what the couple described as “bullying” by some sections of the British media. At the time, Harry said the way newspapers were treating his American-born wife was reminiscent of their approach to his mother, Princess Diana.

The couple, who have a five-month-old baby, spoke of the pressure of intense media attention in a recent documentary.

Markle, a former actress, said British friends had warned her about tabloid newspapers when she had first met Harry.

“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair, and that is the part that is really hard to reconcile,” she said.

Lawmaker Holly Lynch organized and published the letter, which was signed by 71 of her Member of Parliament (MP) colleagues.

“As women MPs of all political persuasions, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in taking a stand against the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories printed in a number of our national newspapers concerning you, your character and your family,” the letter said.

“On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy and have sought to cast aspersions about your character without any good reason as far as we can see,” they said.

Some of the coverage had “what could only be described as outdated, colonial undertones”, which could not be allowed to go unchallenged, the lawmakers added.

They said that although they had a very different role, they shared an understanding of the “abuse and intimidation” that were often used to disparage women in public office.

Markle has launched proceedings against the Mail on Sunday newspaper over the publication of a private letter that her lawyers said was unlawful and part of a “campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her.”

The Mail on Sunday has denied the accusation.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison

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