She is the newest member of the Royal Family, whose past career as an actress and TV star should have prepared her for a life in the spotlight.

But now one of the world’s most famous men has warned that the media’s treatment of the Duchess of Sussex is headed down a dark path and compared it to the attention received by the late Princess Diana.

Holywood star George Clooney has said that the duchess is being “pursued and vilified” and warned that history was in danger of repeating itself, adding “we’ve seen how that ends”.

Princess Diana was famously one of the most photographed women in the world and had an uneasy relationship with the media. 

While she courted publicity following the break-up of her marriage to Prince Charles, she was pursued relentlessly by paparazzi photographers, including on the night of her fatal crash in Paris. 

Mr Clooney is a friend of Harry and Meghan and he and his human rights lawyer wife, Amal, attended the royal wedding in May last year.

His intervention comes amid reports of a rift between the duchess, who is pregnant, and her father, Thomas.

Over the weekend a newspaper published a deeply personal letter allegedly written by the duchess to her father in August, months after he missed her wedding.

After joking about a report suggesting he would be named godfather to Harry and Meghan’s baby, Mr Clooney, who was speaking at an event in Los Angeles, said: “I do want to say, I just saw this piece.

“They’re just chasing Meghan Markle everywhere, she’s been pursued and vilified. She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she is being pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was, and it’s history repeating itself.

“And we’ve seen how that ends. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to see that. You’re taking a letter from a daughter to a father and broadcasting it everywhere.

“She’s getting a raw deal there, it’s irresponsible. I’m sort of surprised by that.”

The duchess, 37, has had to learn quickly how to cope with the scrutiny which comes from being a member of the Royal Family, despite her previous fame. 

The former Suits actress is estranged from her father after a string of high-profile incidents since she became engaged to Harry.

The prince has previously hit out at photographers for the way in which they pursued his mother.

Kensington Palace has also tried to take a strong line, with  an official letter written by Prince Harry’s communications secretary, Jason Knauf, describing how Mr Markle had been “followed and harassed” by photographers and journalists. 

The letter urged editors not to publish pictures of Mr Markle and called on them to stop pursuing him.

Days before his daughter was due to marry into the Royal Family, Mr Markle staged paparazzi photos of himself being fitted for a suit for the royal wedding, exercising and reading a book on English landmarks.  

He has previously said his relationship with his daughter has broken down and has made public appeals for her to get in touch with him, including an appearance on Good Morning Britain.

Mr Markle, speaking to the Mail On Sunday this week, dismissed claims he has not attempted to contact his daughter.

An unnamed friend of Los Angeles-born Meghan told US magazine People: “He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super painful.”

Five nameless friends of the duchess spoke to People in an effort to counter the “global bullying” directed at her.

In the letter the duchess begged her father, who lives in Mexico, to stop giving interviews and communicating with the press, and to leave her and Harry “in peace.”

According to leaked excerpts leaked to the Press, she wrote: “Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces – not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand.” 

The duchess also criticised her father for the lies of his “other daughter” – Samantha Grant, who is the duchess’s half-sister. 

“I pleaded with you to stop reading the tabloids. On a daily basis you fixated and clicked on the lies they were writing about me, especially those manufactured by your other daughter, who I barely know,” Meghan added.

“If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop. Please allow us to live our lives in peace. Please stop lying, please stop creating so much pain, please stop exploiting my relationship with my husband.”

Meghan revealed in January that her baby is due around the end of April.
Clooney and his wife have 18-month-old twins, daughter, Ella, and a son, Alexander.

Asked if he was going to be godfather to the royal baby, he said that as a father of 18-month-old twins, he already had his hands full. 

Clooney and his wife have 18-month-old twins, daughter, Ella, and a son, Alexander.