Lawyer says ex-royal staff will shed light on Meghan letter

Lula Sharp
January 20, 2021

Meghan's lawyers told the court that publishing it was a "triple-barrelled" assault on "her private life, her family life and her correspondence".

In a written witness statement submitted by the defence, he said the article "had given an inaccurate picture of the contents of the letter and my reply and had vilified me by making out that I was dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated".

The trial was due to start last week but was delayed until late 2021 at Meghan's request previous year because of a confidential reason. Her lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had "no real prospect" of winning the case.

"We say that, actually, at its heart, it is a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter", he said at the remote hearing, which is set to last two days.

But Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) claims she wrote the letter "with a view to it being disclosed publicly at some future point" in order to "defend her against charges of being an uncaring or unloving daughter".

In his statement, Thomas Markle rejected the suggestion from one of Meghan's oldest friends in the United States magazine People that the letter was created to fix their fractured relationship.

Meghan Markle is continuing her fight with Brtish media! "It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation".

The court was also told about a People magazine article from February 2019, which first revealed the letter and contained interviews with five of Meghan's friends whose identities were not revealed.

White argued that the Duchess wanted the contents of her letter to be made public, saying she had discussed it with the Kensington Palace communications team and passed information on it through friends to authors of a book about her and Prince Harry.

He added: 'The writing of the letter to be used as part of a media strategy, the extent to which she caused or permitted information about it to be passed to the authors (of Finding Freedom) and People magazine, can not be brushed aside and requires full investigation at trial'.

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Instead, it was a "heartfelt plea" to her father to stop speaking to the media, after he admitted being paid to stage paparazzi photographs before her wedding, which he did not attend.

The 39-year-old Duchess of Sussex's lawyers asked a British judge on Tuesday (January 19) to settle her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers before trial by ruling that the publication of a "deeply personal" letter to her estranged father was "a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy", via Huffington Post.

"We say there was no debate of general interest", said Rushbrooke.

Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure "does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind".

"It's absolutely clear they [Associated] have failed to advance a viable case for justifying the intrusion into the claimant's (privacy) rights".

In a letter lawyers for the four said they believed their clients could "shed some light" on the letter's drafting but the four were "strictly neutral".

Four royal aides who will be asked to give evidence in a potential trial have confirmed they will provide information that will shed light on various issues at stake.

In a letter to the parties, which was provided to the court, Scobie said the claim that he and his co-author Carolyn Durand had a copy of the duchess' letter to her father was "not true".

He said: "The letter didn't say she loved me".

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