Last week, Prince Harry slammed British tabloids for their "ruthless campaign" against Meghan Markle

By Stephanie Petit and Simon Perry
October 09, 2019 09:00 AM

Prince Harry is taking care of his family by taking on the press.

Last week, the royal dad slammed British tabloids for their “ruthless campaign” against his wife, Meghan Markle. The shocking statement coincided with a lawsuit filed by the Duchess of Sussex against the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. It emerged days later that Prince Harry was also taking legal action against The Sun and The Daily Mirror over alleged interceptions of his cell phone voice mails.

“He is looking at ways to protect Meghan and he is worried about Archie,” a royal insider tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “He wants to protect his nest, and this is the only way he can think of doing so.”

Archie, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Samir Hussein/WireImage

Harry also evoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, in his Oct. 1 statement, saying: “Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

“We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA Images

The royal couple’s aggressive moves have come as a surprise to even palace aides, including those who work with other members of the royal family. Some insiders said the timing distracted from the positive work Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, achieved during their 10-day tour of Africa.

“This is a separate and private issue that has been willfully introduced and has sabotaged some of the great work they were doing,” says historian Robert Lacey.

Chris Jackson/Getty

But for Harry and Meghan, who are funding the legal actions themselves, there was no choice. “To stand back and do nothing,” said Harry, “would be contrary to everything we believe in.”

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Meghan Markle
Toby Melville - Pool/Getty

Although Prince Harry didn’t directly address the statement, he gave a powerful speech on the final day of their tour of Africa.

“We will firmly stand up for what we believe,” he told those gathered in Tembisa, a township near Johannesburg in South Africa. “We are fortunate enough to have a position that gives us amazing opportunities, and we will do everything that we can to play our part in building a better world.”

“We will always seek to challenge injustice and to speak out for those who may feel unheard,” Prince Harry continued. “So no matter your background, your nationality, your age or gender, your sexuality, your physical ability, no matter your circumstance or color of your skin — we believe in you, and we intend to spend our entire lives making sure you have the opportunity to succeed and change the world.”