Why Prince Harry Will Never Be Able to Reveal 'Harsh' Prince William Text

Prince Harry was seen receiving a difficult text message from Prince William during his Netflix documentary—but any attempt to reveal the content would likely fall foul of British privacy laws.

The sixth episode of Harry & Meghan features a scene showing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the office of their Montecito home after Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement responding to their Oprah Winfrey interview in March 2021.

Meghan is seen talking on the phone to their friend, Tyler Perry when Harry interrupts to show her the screen of his mobile phone. The duchess said, "What am I looking at? Wow," before telling Perry: "H just got a text from his brother."

The message was never shown but whatever it said was dramatic enough that Harry replied "I wish I knew what to do," before Meghan got up to hug him.

Prince Harry, Meghan and Prince William
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen embracing during a clip from their Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan." A different clip from the series showed Harry receiving a harsh text message from his brother, Prince William [inset]. COURTESY OF PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN, THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF SUSSEX and Samir Hussein/WireImage

The moment went newly viral after being posted on TikTok last week with the caption: "Meghan Markle giving H a big hug after he received the harsh text from his brother Prince William shows her love for her mans."

There may be good reasons, however, why the content of the message was not revealed which relate to tough British and European privacy laws.

In 1998, the United Kingdom Government incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, including Article 8, which reads: "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence."

The Equality and Human Rights Commission website says correspondence would include "letters, telephone calls and emails, for example," and lawyers have previously told Newsweek text messages would also be on the list.

It is the same law that Meghan used herself to sue The Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter she sent her father begging him to stop talking to the media. Her victory in the lawsuit set a particularly high bar for the protection of private correspondence, as The Mail on Sunday attempted to mount a defense that publication served the public interest.

Five of Meghan's friends had anonymously given interviews to People in which the letter to Thomas Markle had been mentioned, but described inaccurately as an olive branch.

Mail on Sunday lawyers argued her father had the right to set the record straight and offer the letter as proof he was telling the truth. He was at the time not known for his candor, having taken money from the paparazzi to stage photos, and the newspaper argued no one would have believed him without the evidence.

However, Meghan landed a quick win without a trial, using a process called summary judgment, after the court ruled the U.K. tabloid had no realistic prospect of success.

Sitting at the High Court, in London, Mark Warby wrote in his judgment: "She enjoyed a reasonable expectation that the contents would remain private and not be published to the world at large by a national newspaper; the defendant's conduct in publishing the contents of the letter was a misuse of her private information."

For Harry to commit the same breach of civil law as the newspaper he and Meghan have sued the most would spark inevitable allegations of hypocrisy.

However, and perhaps more seriously, it might prove difficult for Harry's legal team to defend the case in light of everything they have already argued.

Prince William, were he to sue, would be able to pursue a quick win by summary judgment citing arguments mounted by Meghan's own lawyers to make their case.

And by shutting the lawsuit down early, he would also limit the impact on his own reputation.

Jack Royston is the chief royal correspondent at Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

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