Meghan Markle has taken legal action against a British newspaper for its publication of a « private and confidential » letter to her estranged father. A statement written by the Duchess of Sussex was read out at the High Court today. But what exactly did her statement say?
The handwritten letters from Meghan addressed to her father Thomas Markle were sent in August 2018.
Sections of the letter was published in the newspaper and online in February last year.
After these letters were published, the Duchess of Sussex announced an intention to bring legal action in October.
Meghan is seeking damages from Associated Newspapers Ltd, the newspaper’s publisher and operator of the website, for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Meghan Markle court statement in full: What did Meghan’s statement say?
Meghan Markle court statement in full: Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over letters written to her estranged father
Associated Newspapers wholly denies the allegations made by the Duchess of Sussex.
In particularly the publisher denies Meghan’s claim the letter was edited in any way to change its meaning and Associated Newspapers said it will hotly contest the case.
At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice Warby heard an application by Meghan’s lawyers to maintain the anonymity of her five friends who spoke anonymously to the People, a US magazine.
In the People article, published in February 2019, the five friends spoke out against the bullying the duchess said she has faced.
Meghan Markle court statement in full: Meghan reading to baby Archie
The Duchess of Sussex submitted a witness statement as part of the application which was today read at the High Court.
The statement reads: « I confirm that save where otherwise appears, the facts stated in this witness statement are within my own knowledge and that those facts are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
« Where facts are not within my own knowledge, I confirm that they are true to the best of my information and belief and the source of that information is set out.
« I make this witness statement in support of my application that a non-party may not access the confidential schedule without first applying to the court on notice to my solicitors, and that the information contained in the confidential schedule must not be used by the defendant for any purpose except for that of these proceedings.
« Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women – five private citizens – who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behaviour of Britain’s tabloid media.
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« These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial.
« It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case – that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.
« Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.
« Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Meghan Markle court statement in full: Meghan’s witness statement was read in court on July 29
« The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.
« I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals – a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.
« STATEMENT OF TRUTH
« I believe that the facts stated in this Witness Statement are true.
“I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth. »
Associated Newspaper’s defence document reads: « Information in the People interview about the claimant’s relationship and dealings with her father, including the existence of the letter and a description of its contents and the claimant’s father’s letter in response, could only have come (directly or indirectly) from the claimant. »
The publisher added Mr Markle had revealed the letter to correct the « false » impression Meghan’s friends had given about his actions in their interview.
Meghan’s legal team however claim she did not know the People magazine article was due to appear and would not have agreed to the letter’s contents being revealed.
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