Meghan Markles lawyer argues letter to estranged father sensitive in nature

Lawrence Kim
January 20, 2021

The 39-year-old Duchess of Sussex's lawyers asked a British judge on Tuesday (January 19) to settle her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers before trial by ruling that the publication of a "deeply personal" letter to her estranged father was "a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy", via Huffington Post. Her team also announced at the time they would seek a summary judgement.

Associated accuses Meghan of giving the authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand details about the letter to portray her version of events in a more favourable light.

Meghan alleges that reporters acted "dishonestly and in bad faith", and "deliberately dug up or stirred conflict" between her and her father.

In its written argument submitted to the court, the Mail on Sunday said Meghan had expected the letter's contents to become public, and, even if she had a privacy right, it was outweighed by the paper's freedom of expression rights.

He and Meghan now live with their young son Archie in the United States, where they have set up a charitable foundation.

In a witness statement previously before the court, ANL's group editorial legal director Liz Hartley said she had spoken to Mr Markle who told her: "I am a realist and I could die tomorrow".

"It is as good an example as one could find of a letter that any person of ordinary sensibilities would not want to be disclosed to third parties, let alone in a mass media publication, in a sensational context and to serve the commercial purposes of the newspaper", she says.

Mr Rushbrook said the five-page, 1,250-word letter was not "a vicious or unwarranted attack" on Mr Markle but was rather "a message of peace".

Rushbrooke told the court Meghan's "intrinsically private, personal and sensitive letter" had been a plea to her father to stop talking to the press.

In its written defence, the paper said the duchess was willing for private matters to become public if it suited her, saying she had cooperated with a biography of the couple, and there were "inconsistent statements" she needed to explain.

Associated argued in its defence that at least four current or former members of the Royal Household were likely to have information relevant to the case.

Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure "does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind". "The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation".

He said that he had to "defend himself" against an article in People magazine.

The Duchess of Sussex and her father have given conflicting reports about the impact of the letter she sent him in the months after the Royal Wedding.

He said he had "never meant to talk publicly about Meg's letter" until he read the People magazine piece which, he claimed, suggested he was "to blame for the end of the relationship".

The full trial of the duchess's claim was due to be heard at the High Court this month, but previous year the case was adjourned until autumn 2021 for a "confidential" reason. Meghan's request for a ruling was heard remotely, due to the pandemic.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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