Meghan Markle Gave Person Permission to Tell Biographers About 'Private' Letter, Court Filing Reveals

Meghan Markle gave a person permission to discuss the existence of a bombshell letter to her father with the authors of a tell-all biography, court papers reveal.

Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex say she wanted to correct her father's false narrative in the media that she "had abandoned him and not even tried to contact him."

A court filing reveals she authorized the person to tell her side of the story to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand for their book Finding Freedom, which sparked global headlines over the summer.

The detail could ignite her court case against U.K. tabloid The Mail on Sunday, which she is suing for publishing the letter. Meghan claims the newspaper violated her privacy, but they say she wanted it to leak because it told her side of the story.

Meghan Markle Commonwealth Day Service 2020
Meghan Markle attends the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 09, 2020 in London, England. She is suing the Mail on Sunday for breach of privacy and copyright over a letter she sent her father in August 2018. Samir Hussein/Getty

Lawyers for the duchess said in their court filing: "[Meghan] was concerned that her father's narrative in the media that she had abandoned him and had not even tried to contact him (which was false) would be repeated, when in fact she had tried to call him, and text him, and had even written a letter to him to try to persuade him to stop dealing with the media; and he had written back to her.

"Accordingly, she indicated to a person whom she knew had already been approached by the authors that the true position as above (which that person and several others who knew the Claimant already knew) could be communicated to the authors to prevent any
further misrepresentation.

"She does not know to what extent or in what terms this one item of information concerning her communications with her father was shared with the authors."

Meghan is suing Mail on Sunday for publishing the letter she sent Thomas Markle Snr. in August 2018, after her wedding that May.

Her father colluded with a paparazzi photographer to stage pictures of him preparing to make the Royal Wedding.

In the handwritten letter, she accuses him of lying and being a puppet of the media, but the newspaper's legal team claim she always intended it to be made public.

Lawyers for Mail on Sunday argue it was part of a media strategy aimed at getting her side of the story into the public domain without appearing to speak out on a private matter. This week they filed court papers claiming she had the help of Jason Knauf, press secretary at Kensington Palace, in writing the letter.

In rebuttal, Meghan's lawyers filed papers that said: "The comments Mr. Knauf provided were in the form of 'general ideas' as opposed to actual wording. For the avoidance of doubt neither Mr. Knauf (nor anybody else) created any part of the Electronic Draft or the Letter. [Meghan], and [Meghan] alone, created the Electronic Draft, which she then transcribed by hand to her father as the Letter."

It adds: "[Meghan] did not authorise or wish the contents of the Letter to be published in the Book, not just because its contents were deeply private and sensitive, but because to attract publicity to them would have been contrary to her principal objective in sending it to her father, which was to stop him talking to the media in misleading terms about his relationship with her, which was a private matter."

The lawsuit has seen repeated skirmishes before the trial has even begun, including a dispute over the summer about whether five of Meghan's close friends would be named.

The Duchess accused the newspaper of threatening the mental health of the group of young mothers by dragging them into the case.

The women gave interviews to People defending Meghan after criticism in the media, and the letter was mentioned during the coverage.

The Mail on Sunday's lawyers say they could only have spoken out with her express permission, indicating Meghan wanted the letter's contents revealed.

They said the public had the right to know the names of the group, triggering a strongly worded statement to the High Court from the duchess.

Meghan said: "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."

She added: "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."

The court ruled the names could be kept private for now but any women called to give evidence might be named.

Correction 11/19/20, 09:00 a.m. ET: This article and headline were updated to clarify that Meghan Markle did not give permission to a "friend" to speak to biography authors, but to an unnamed person.