Meghan Markle's Letter to Father Should Not Have Been Published: Poll

Most Britons think Meghan Markle's letter telling her estranged father that he broke her heart should not have been published by a tabloid newspaper, a new poll suggests.

Around 50 percent of 2,500 people surveyed last week think the Mail on Sunday was wrong to print the five-page handwritten message to Thomas Markle.

This compared to just 16 percent who said it was right to publish and a further 28 percent who said they did not know.

The figures come from polling conducted by Redfield and Wilton for Newsweek on February 17 and carry a margin of error of 1.96 percent.

The Duchess of Sussex sued for privacy and copyright over the publication of the letter at the High Court in London. Earlier this month she won an emphatic victory without a trial.

Meghan wrote Thomas Markle the letter in August 2018, three months after her wedding to Prince Harry.

Prince Harry and Meghan in South Africa
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Tembisa township to learn about Youth Employment Services (YES) on October 2, 2019, in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the tour, Meghan's lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday was announced. Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty

Markle Sr. did not make the Windsor Castle ceremony after he was first caught staging photos with the paparazzi for money and then taken to hospital after a heart attack.

He did a series of interviews with TMZ at the time of the wedding and text messages sent by Meghan and Harry, and later disclosed to the court, showed the couple asking him not to speak to the media.

In her letter, Meghan begged her father to stop giving interviews and outlined the suffering it was causing her.

A court filing by Meghan's lawyers read: "It is a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father (the word 'pain' or 'painful' appears no fewer than five times), begging him to stop talking to the press.

"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."

Markle Sr. initially kept the letter to himself until it was mentioned in interviews given by five anonymous friends of the duchess to People magazine.

The Mail on Sunday claimed he had the right to tell his side of the story, offering the letter as proof the friend's had misrepresented its contents.

Four of her former staff had offered to give evidence, with the newspaper claiming at least one helped write the note as part of a media strategy.

Meghan would also have had to give evidence under hostile questioning by the Mail on Sunday's lawyers had it gone to trial and there would have been requests for the release of more private communications relevant to the case.

However, all that was stopped in its tracks when Judge Mark Warby ruled her case was legally so overwhelming that the newspaper had little chance of success at trial.

In his judgement, he wrote: "It was, in short, a personal and private letter. The majority of what was published was about the [Meghan's] own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father's behaviour – as she saw it – and the resulting rift between them.

"These are inherently private and personal matters."

The newspaper's argument that Meghan's father had a right to correct what he saw as a misleading did not meet the public interest justification he was looking for, he said.

He added: "The inescapable conclusion is that, save to the very limited extent I have identified, the disclosures made were not a necessary or proportionate means of serving that purpose.

"For the most part they did not serve that purpose at all.

"Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful."

In reaching his conclusion, the judge had to consider whether Meghan had a reasonable expectation the newspaper should treat the contents of the letter as private.

Newsweek's survey data suggests support for the judge's decision, with the majority of British people polled also viewing the letter as private.

A trial to identify whether Meghan was the sole author of the letter is due for March 2, though the court has found publication infringed her copyright either way.