Not for the first time, Meghan Markle’s ‘truth’ has apparently collided with the actual truth.
Over a three-day hearing at the Court of Appeal this week, the Duchess of Sussex admitted to misleading the High Court as key parts of her privacy case against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday, were called into question.
Earlier this year, a High Court judge granted summary judgement in Meghan’s favour over the MoS’s publication of extracts of a letter penned by the duchess to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. Her lawyers successfully argued that her privacy and her copyright had been breached by the newspaper.
But on Wednesday the disclosure of a cache of messages between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and their then communications secretary, Jason Knauf, revealed that a claim she had made in the original trial was untrue. Something Meghan puts down to a ‘memory lapse’.
It all came down to her aides’ alleged contact with the authors of Finding Freedom, a puff biography penned by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. The High Court had heard that Markle ‘does not know if, and to what extent, the communications team were involved in providing information for the book’.
The emails suggest otherwise. Not only was she aware that Knauf was meeting the authors to discuss her life story, she also gave him notes to take with him. Prince Harry suggested at one point that he should talk to them himself, to give them a sense of the ‘media onslaught’ and ‘cyber bullying’ he feels his wife has suffered.
We await to see how or if this impacts on the judgement, which will be held at a later date. But Associated Newspapers will be hoping these revelations bolster one of its key arguments: that Markle forfeited her right to privacy due to her friends’ and aides’ briefings to the biographers and to People magazine.
That wasn’t the only awkward detail to emerge at the hearing this week. In text messages, Meghan asked Knauf to look at the letter she had drafted to her father. ‘Obviously everything I’ve drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked’, she said. She then pointed out that she had referred to her father as ‘daddy’ in the letter, adding that ‘in the unfortunate event that it leaked, it would pull at the heart strings’.
Knauf told the court that Markle had ‘explored options for written communication that might convince [her father] to stop giving interviews, but that could also set the record straight if he gave them to the media’. Associated Newspapers argued that Markle’s anticipation that the letter could leak also undercuts her case.