Meghan Markle: Royal expert gives court case update
The royal aides who worked for the Duchess of Sussex could “shed some light” on the drafting of the handwritten letter to estranged father, Thomas Markle, but were “strictly neutral”. Meghan, 39, is suing the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline over five articles in February 2019 which reproduced “extensive extracts” from the letter sent to Mr Markle, 76.
She sent the letter to her father in August 2018 after marrying Prince Harry. Mr Markle did not attend the wedding.
Meghan claims her privacy and copyright were breached by the newspaper group.
Her lawyers say the publication of the letter was “self-evidently…highly intrusive”.
Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) claims Meghan 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”. She denies this.
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Meghan is seeking damages from ANL for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Her lawyers have applied for “summary judgment”, a legal step which would see those parts of the case resolved without a trial.
ANL argues the case is “wholly unsuitable for summary judgment”.
Antony White QC, representing ANL told the court that a letter from lawyers representing the so-called “Palace Four” said they would be able to “shed some light” on the drafting of the five-page letter.
In the letter sent on their behalf, their lawyers said: “None of our clients welcomes his or her potential involvement in this litigation, which has arisen purely as a result of the performance of his or her duties in their respective jobs at the material time.
“This is particularly the case given the sensitivity of, and therefore discretion required in, their particular roles in the Royal Household.”
It added: “Nor does any of our clients wish to take sides in the dispute between your respective clients. Our clients are all strictly neutral.
“They have no interest in assisting either party to the proceedings. Their only interest is in ensuring a level playing field, insofar as any evidence they may be able to give is concerned.”
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He also told the court further evidence about whether Meghan “directly or indirectly provided private information” to the authors of an unauthorised biography Finding Freedom would “likely” be heard.
The full trial of the duchess’s claim was due to be heard at the High Court this month, but last year the case was adjourned until autumn 2021 for a “confidential” reason.
At the conclusion of the hearing on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Justice Warby reserved his judgment, which he said he would deliver “as soon as possible”.
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