Meghan apologizes to court for forgetting about book talks
LONDON – The Duchess of Sussex has apologized for misleading a UK court over the extent of her cooperation with the authors of a sympathetic book on her and Prince Harry.
Former Meghan Markle, 40, is embroiled in a legal battle in London over a UK newspaper’s publication of parts of a letter she wrote to her ex-father after her 2018 marriage to Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
She sued the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website for breach of privacy and copyright. A High Court judge ruled in her favor in February, saying the publication of the letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, was “patently excessive and therefore illegal”.
Publisher Associated Newspapers is trying to overturn this decision in the Court of Appeal. The editor claims Meghan wrote the letter with the knowledge that it could be published and has made public private information by cooperating with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of “Finding Freedom”.
Lawyers for the Duchess have previously denied that she or Harry collaborated with the perpetrators. But the couple’s former communications director Jason Knauf told court he gave the writers information and discussed it with Harry and Meghan.
In a witness statement, Knauf said the book was “discussed directly with the Duchess on several occasions in person and by email”. Emails released as part of Knauf’s statement showed that he also emailed Harry to discuss the book and tell him he would meet with the authors.
Knauf said Harry responded, “I totally agree that we have to be able to say we have nothing to do with it. Likewise, give them the right context and background. would help to make certain truths known. â
In a witness statement released on Wednesday, Meghan agreed “that Mr. Knauf provided information to the authors of the book, and that he did so to my knowledge, for a meeting he scheduled with the authors in his communication quality secretary. ” She added that “the extent of the information he shared is unknown to me.”
The Duchess said she did not recall the discussions with Knauf when she testified earlier in the case, “and I apologize to the court for the fact that I did not recall those exchanges at the ‘era”.
“I had absolutely no desire or intention to mislead the accused or the court,” she said.
Associated Newspapers says Knauf’s testimony also undermines Meghan’s claim that she did not intend the letter to be seen by anyone other than her father.
In her witness statement, Knauf said the Duchess “asked me to review the text of the letter, saying” Obviously everything I have written is understood that it may be disclosed. “”
Knauf said Meghan asked her if she should address her father in the letter as “Dad”, adding that “in the unfortunate event of a leak it would pull on the chords.”
In her own written testimony, Meghan said she did not believe her father would ‘sell or disclose the letter, mainly because it wouldn’t put him in a good light’.
âTo be clear, I didn’t want everything published and wanted to make sure that the risk of manipulation or misleading editing was minimized, if it were to be exploited,â she said.
Meghan’s lawyers told the Court of Appeals on Thursday that if she had wanted to put the letter to her father in the public domain, the book “Finding Freedom” would have been “the perfect opportunity” to do so.
Defending the newspaper, lawyer Andrew Caldecott has also argued that Thomas Markle has the right to publicly refute the misleading claims about his relationship with Meghan that surfaced in a People magazine interview in 2019 with five of his close friends.
“Thomas Markle was royally attacked in People magazine … and here is his answer,” he said.
The appeal continues Thursday before three senior magistrates. A decision is expected at a later date.
Meghan, a former star of the American television legal drama “Suits”, married Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
The couple announced in early 2020 that they were stepping down from royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
They settled in Santa Barbara, California with their two young children.