The Duchess of Sussex felt "unprotected" by the Royal Family while she was pregnant, new court documents reveal.
Meghan, 38, claims the "institution" of the monarchy failed to protect her after she became "the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles" in the press while she was pregnant with her son, which caused her "tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health".
The claims are made in new papers lodged by the duchess's legal team in her ongoing case against the Mail on Sunday and its owners Associated Newspaper Limited (ANL).
The duchess is suing ANL, which also owns MailOnline and the Daily Mail, over a Mail on Sunday article that reproduced sections of a handwritten note she sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.
Lawyers for the duchess claim the story breached her privacy.
The document claims Meghan felt "prohibited" from defending herself against "falsehoods" about her published by the Mail on Sunday before she and Prince Harry decided to step down as senior royals and move to Los Angeles.
It adds: "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."
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Associated Newspapers claims it only included the letter because it had already been referenced by Meghan's friends in an interview with People magazine in the US.
The duchess identifies the five friends who gave the People interview, but refers to them only as friends A, B, C, D and E, and denies she authorised them to do it.
In the article, published in February last year, they spoke out against the bullying she said she has faced.
They could be called to testify if the case goes to trial, but no dates have been suggested for a potential hearing.