The Duchess of Sussex has admitted that she provided personal information to the authors of a Royal biography via a third party who she knew had been approached by its authors.
In the latest round of documents lodged with the High Court, Meghan’s lawyers reveal that she was concerned about her father’s narrative in the media that she had ‘abandoned him’ and ‘had not even tried to contact him (which was false) would be repeated.’
Meghan’s lawyers add: ‘Accordingly, she indicated to a person whom she knew had already been approached by the authors that the true position as above (which that person and several others who knew the Claimant already knew) could be communicated to the authors to prevent any further misrepresentation.’
Meghan insists in the document however, she does not know to what extent any of the information was shared.
Her lawyers add: ‘She does not know to what extent or in what terms this one item of information concerning her communications with her father was shared with the authors.’
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, admitted in documents filed at the High Court that she provided personal information to the authors of Finding Freedom via a third party. Pictured: Meghan signing a visitors book in 2018
Meghan’s legal team also say that she does not know if the Kensington Palace Communications team liaised with the authors of Finding Freedom on her behalf.
The latest court filings by Meghan’s legal team are in response to an earlier court ruling which allowed the Mail On Sunday to rely on the Royal biography Finding Freedom as part of its case, claiming that she co-operated with its authors and allowed extracts of a letter written to her estranged father, to be published in it.
Meghan, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline for breach of privacy for publishing extracts of a letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle after her royal wedding in 2018.
Details on how the letter came about were contained in the court documents submitted to London’s High Court by Meghan’s lawyers Monday.
Meghan is suing The Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts from the note, which she says breached her privacy. She also claims the paper infringed her copyright in the handwritten letter, sent to her father Thomas Markle (pictured together) after he was unable to attend the 2018 royal wedding
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage as they head towards Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, after their wedding
The Duchess of Sussex says in documents filed at the High Court that a senior Kensington Palace press officer was involved with ‘providing general ideas to a private letter’ she wrote to her estranged father.
Meghan says that she had decided to write the letter to Thomas Markle following advice from two senior members of the Royal Family in an attempt to get him to stop talking to the press.
Jason Knauf (pictured), who was Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, ‘and/or others in the Kensington Palace communications team contributed to the writing of the letter’, the newspaper’s lawyers told the High Court
They maintain that she spent several weeks making notes on her iPhone and many hours writing a draft of the letter and then consulted Jason Knauf who was Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The document adds: ‘She shared a draft of that Draft with her husband and Mr Knauf for support, as this was a deeply painful process they lived through with her…In the course of a discussion between them, Mr Knauf provided feedback on that draft but no actual wording, as this was a personal letter from daughter to father.’
Meghan’s lawyers add: ‘The comments Mr Knauf provided were in the form of ‘general ideas’ as opposed to actual wording. For the avoidance of doubt neither Mr Knauf (nor anybody else) created any part of the Electronic Draft of the Letter.
‘The Claimant (Meghan) and the Claimant alone, created the Electronic Draft, which she then transcribed by hand to her father as the Letter.’
The alleged role of officials in the Kensington Palace communications team has emerged as one of the key issues in the case.
Earlier this week, court filings submitted by the newspaper’s lawyers claimed that Mr Knauf and others in the team contributed to the writing of the letter and that as a result, it was not Meghan’s ‘own intellectual creation.’
The newspaper also alleges that Meghan wrote the letter knowing that it was going to be made public and that she used it as part of a ‘wider strategy,’ which she has further denied in her re-amended reply.
Meghan and her father, 76 are set to face each other in the High Court a year from now if the trial goes ahead.
The newspaper’s case is that Mr Markle (pictured with Meghan) asked it to publish extracts from the letter, to set the record straight, because a few days earlier his daughter’s friends had revealed its existence – and mischaracterised it as a ‘loving’ letter – in an anonymous interview they granted US magazine People
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9 this year, on their final royal engagement before they quit royal life
The trial was due to begin on January 11, but last month Meghan won a nine-month delay after asking Mr Justice Warby for a postponement for a ‘confidential’ reason.
Meghan’s lawyers deny that she provided a copy of the letter to her father for the Royal biography Finding Freedom or co-operated with them in any way.
As part of its case, the newspaper also claims that Mr Markle asked it to publish extracts from the letter, to set the record straight, because a few days earlier his daughter’s friends had revealed its existence in an anonymous interview they granted US magazine People which he felt had mischaracterised it as a ‘loving’ letter.
The trial was due to begin on January 11, but last month Meghan won a nine-month delay after asking Mr Justice Warby (pictured) for a postponement for a ‘confidential’ reason
A court artist’s sketch of Mr Justice Warby (bottom left) Antony White QC (bottom right), for ANL and Meghan’s lawyer David Sherborne during a virtual High Court hearing on April 24
Thomas Markle shows a souvenir he keeps on mantelpiece of Harry and Meghan from their wedding he was unable to attend, during his Channel 5 documentary in January this year
In her response, Meghan’s legal team state that she did not know about the interview and was not aware that they would make any references to the letter.
It adds that the decision to speak to People magazine resulted from concern by her close circle of friends at the impact ‘aggressive attacks’ by the media were having on her and that they wanted to portray what she was ‘truly like.’
Meghan’s reply also says that Mr Markle had already said before he was admitted to hospital with heart problems that he would not attend her wedding after he was ‘publicly shamed’ for having staged paparazzo photographs.