Meghan Markle 'knew letter to father might leak', newspaper lawyer claims

·2-min read

Lawyers for a British newspaper publisher say the Duchess of Sussex crafted a letter to her estranged father so it would "pull at the heartstrings" if leaked to the public.

The publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website is trying to overturn a court decision that it breached Meghan's privacy by publishing portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle after she married Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan Markle wearing a white mini dress and holding a microphone
Lawyers for a British newspaper publisher say the Duchess of Sussex crafted a letter to her estranged father so it would "pull at the heartstrings" if leaked to the public. Photo: Getty Images

A High Court judge ruled in February that publication of the letter was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful".

Associated Newspapers disputes Meghan's claim that she did not intend the letter to be seen by anyone but her father.

Its lawyer Andrew Caldecott told judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday that correspondence between Meghan and her then-communications secretary Jason Knauf shows the duchess suspected her father might leak the letter to journalists.

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Caldecott said the letter was "crafted with readership by the public in mind," and Meghan "was happy for the public to read it if Mr Markle were to leak it".

He quoted from a witness statement in which Knauf said the duchess "asked me to review the text of the letter, saying 'obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked'".

Knauf said Meghan asked whether she should address her father in the letter as "Daddy," adding that "in the unfortunate event that it leaked, it would pull at the heartstrings".

In her own written evidence, Meghan, 40, said she had not believed that her father "would sell or leak the letter, primarily because it would not put him in a good light".

"To be clear, I did not want any of it to be published, and wanted to ensure that the risk of it being manipulated or misleadingly edited was minimised, were it to be exploited," she said.

The appeal hearing is scheduled to last until Thursday, with a ruling due at a later date.

Meghan, a former star of the US TV legal drama Suits, married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

Reporting by AAP

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