Britain: Royal aide says Meghan anticipated father leaking letter

Disclosure was put to the court as British newspaper seeks to overturn a ruling that it breached Duchess of Sussex’s privacy

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By Reuters

Published: Wed 10 Nov 2021, 7:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 Nov 2021, 7:19 PM

British royal Meghan told a former senior aide that a handwritten letter she wrote to her father could be leaked to the press and so she had been “meticulous” with her choice of words, London’s Court of Appeal was told on Wednesday.

The disclosure was put to the court as the Mail on Sunday newspaper seeks to overturn a ruling that it breached Meghan’s privacy and copyright by publishing parts of the letter she wrote to Thomas Markle in August 2018, three months after her wedding to Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson.

Earlier this year, a high court judge ruled in her favour without a trial, and said the paper should print a front-page apology and pay her legal bills.

Appealing against that decision over three days of hearings, lawyers for the Mail argued Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had always known the letter could be leaked, and said evidence from her former communications chief Jason Knauf was proof of this.

In a witness statement, Knauf said the duchess had indicated that she recognised Markle might make the letter public, and had “toiled over every detail which could be manipulated”.

“She asked me to review the text of the letter, saying ‘obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability’,” his statement said.

The Mail’s lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, also cited text messages sent from Meghan to Knauf which said she had decided to use the word “Daddy” to begin the letter because “in the unfortunate event that it leaked, it would pull at the heartstrings”.

“If he leaks it then that’s on his conscious (sic) but at least the world will know the truth,” the message said, according to the lawyer.

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