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Royal aides won’t ‘take sides’ over Meghan’s letter to father in legal fight

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Royal aides won’t ‘take sides’ over Meghan’s letter to father in legal fight


Four royal advisers have said that they will not “take sides” in the current legal battle over portions from Meghan Markle’s private letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Lawyers for the four said that their clients could “shed some light” on the letter’s writing, but that the four were “strictly neutral”

Meghan, 39, is suing The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline for five stories published in February 2019 that included “extensive extracts” from the letter written to Mr Markle, 76.

The publication printed excerpts of the letter in February 2019, prompting the Duchess to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.

Instead of a trial, her attorneys are requesting a summary judgment, which would reject Associated Newspapers’ (ANL) defense.

She is suing the media group for alleged abuse of private information, copyright infringement, and a violation of the Data Protection Act.


Her attorneys claim that the letter’s release was “self-evidently…highly intrusive”

ANL believes Jason Knauf, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s former communications secretary, was “involved,” and that the couple’s ex-deputy communications secretary Christian Jones, their former private secretary Samantha Cohen, and Sara Latham, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s former director of communications, all have relevant evidence in the case.

This would include if they assisted in the writing of Meghan’s letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

Meghan drafted the letter “with a view to it being disclosed publicly at some future point” according to ANL, to “defend her against charges of being an uncaring or unloving daughter” which she rejects.

The case is likewise “wholly unsuitable for summary judgment,” according to ANL.

Lawyers for the Palace Four stated in a letter to the court today that they did not want to be engaged in the legal battle, but that they would testify at trial if necessary.

“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,” their attorneys stated.

“This is particularly the case given the sensitivity of, and therefore discretion required in, their particular roles in the Royal Household.”

“As you will appreciate, all our clients are bound by obligations of confidentiality to their former and/or current employers.”

“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 attorneys’ “preliminary view is that one or more of our clients would be in a position to shed some light” on “the creation of the letter and the electronic draft”

Any messages between Meghan and Knauf would have been erased after 30 days, according to her lawyer Ian Mill.

Associated Newspapers’ lawyer, Adrian Speck, said the publication may have published portions Meghan did not have “full copyright over.”

The employees may also be allowed to discuss whether Meghan “directly or indirectly provided private information, generally and in relation to the letter specifically” to the writers of the Sussex book Finding Freedom.

Meghan has refuted allegations that she and Prince Harry helped Scobie and Durand write the book.

However, the letter from the four “contains no information at all that supports the defendant’s case on alleged co-authorship (of Meghan’s letter), and no indication that evidence will be forthcoming that will support the defendant’s case should the matter proceed to trial,” according to Justin Rushbrooke QC, who represents the duchess.

After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the Royal fold, the Palace Four no longer work for them.

Meghan, 39, sent her father a handwritten letter in August 2018 after her wedding to Prince Harry in May of that year, which Mr Markle did not attend. The couple currently lives in the United States.

The entire trial of the duchess’s lawsuit was scheduled to begin this month at the High Court, but it was postponed last year for “confidential” reasons until autumn 2021.

The case is still being heard by Mr Justice Warby. He is likely to postpone his decision until a later date.

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