The Mercury News
Lawyer says ex-royal staff will shed light on Meghan letter
LONDON >> A lawyer for the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper said Wednesday that the Duchess of Sussex had no reasonable expectation of privacy for a letter she sent to her estranged father after her marriage to Prince Harry.
Arguing against the duchess’s privacy-infringement claim in a London court, attorney Antony White said “it’s to be inferred that the letter was written and sent by the claimant with a view to it being disclosed to third parties and read by the public.”
He said ex-employees of Meghan and Harry would be able to shed light on the creation of the letter when the case comes to trial.
The former Meghan Markle, 39, is suing publisher Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website, which published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her 2018 wedding to Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II.
Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court. In hearings this week the duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favor and dismiss the newspaper’s defense case without a trial.
Meghan’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued Tuesday that that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning because “it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter.”
Rushbrooke said Meghan’s five-page letter, sent in August 2018, was “a message of peace” intended for her father alone.
But the defense argues Meghan wrote the letter as part of a media strategy to rebut a negative view conveyed by her father, and with help from the communications team in the royal couple’s Kensington Palace office.
“Why was the Kensington Palace communications team involved at all in the wording of the letter if it was a wholly private letter?” White said.