A court heard Wednesday that the Duchess of Sussex was aware that a letter at the center of a privacy breach dispute with a British tabloid may be leaked by her father.
On Tuesday, Associated Newspapers Limited filed an appeal against a finding that the publishing of sections of Meghan Markle’s letter to Thomas Markle infringed on her privacy.
The Leaked Letter to Tabloid of The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle
In February, a court found that the handwritten letter was “personal and private,” and that publishing it was “manifestly excessive and hence illegal,” forcing Associated Press to post a front-page statement congratulating her on her triumph.
It hasn’t done so yet because of the appeal, in which the publishers’ attorneys contend that the letter was drafted knowing it would be made public.
Jason Knauf, who served as Meghan and Prince Harry’s communications secretary until March 2019, stated in a declaration to the Court of Appeal in London that the duchess informed him she knew her father may leak the letter.
Meghan, 40, had “lost faith that the privacy of her interactions with her father would be protected by him,” according to Knauf.
“Obviously everything I have typed is with the awareness that it might be leaked so I have been thorough in my word choice, but please do let me know if anything leaps out for you as a liability,” Meghan said in a text message to Knauf.
Meghan wrote to her father instead of sending him an email so that particular pieces could not be copied and pasted and subsequently published, according to Knauf.
“On August 24, 2018, she stated in a series of communications that she had given significant attention to how to prevent the letter from being leaked in part or in a deceptive fashion,” he continued.
“In the event that the letter was leaked, she wanted the whole story to be understood and shared.” “I worked over every element that could be adjusted,” she stated.
– ‘I’ve sweated over every last detail’ –
Meghan was victorious in her lawsuit against Associated Press for invasion of privacy, copyright, and data protection in connection with a series of publications based on the letter.
“The image provided to the Court on behalf of the claimant… was that this was a wholly private letter designed for Mr Markle’s eyes alone,” Associated lawyer Andrew Caldecott said in court.
“The position we now have is a different and more complex one,” he said, “that the letter was prepared and created with reading in mind, and indeed she was willing for the public to read it if Mr Markle were to leak it.”
Knauf’s testimony, he claimed, placed doubt on the previous decision, and the matter should have gone to a full trial.
Meghan’s legal team said at a prior hearing that Knauf informed them he did not author or assist create the letter.
The trial might run up to three days, with a decision likely later.
Meghan sent the letter to her 77-year-old father a few months after her wedding to Harry, 37, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
Meghan requested that her father refrain from speaking to tabloid tabloids and make false statements about her in interviews.
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