U.K. Publisher Argues Meghan Markle Knew Letter to Her Father Might Leak to Press

The publisher of a British newspaper argued Tuesday that the publication of parts of Meghan Markle's letter to her father did not invade the Duchess of Sussex's privacy because she knew it could potentially be leaked to the press.

Meghan, 40, sued Publisher Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement for publishing five articles with large portions of the letter in Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website in February 2019.

A High Court judge ruled against Publisher Associated Newspapers in February, saying that Mail on Sunday's decision to publish the letter was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful." The publisher began its appeal against the decision Tuesday, with lawyer Andrew Caldecott arguing that Meghan did not pen the letter as an "intimate communication for her father's eyes only."

"The letter was crafted specifically with the potential of public consumption in mind because the claimant appreciated Mr. Markle might disclose it to the media," Caldecott told the Court of Appeal in London.

Meghan wrote the letter to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018 after she married Prince Harry. Caldecott cited new evidence revealed by Jason Knauf, a former communications secretary for Meghan and Harry, that he said indicates Meghan had suspicions that her father may leak the letter to journalists.

Knauf wrote an email in October 2018 accusing Meghan of bullying multiple members of her staff. Now Publisher Associated Newspapers has asked the Court of Appeal to admit a statement from Knauf as evidence in the case.

While the contents of Knauf's reported statement were not immediately known, Caldecott indicated in court he will argue the document "raises questions about her credibility," referring to Meghan.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Newspapers Appeals Ruling on Markle Letter
A British newspaper publisher began its court appeal Tuesday against a judge's ruling that it invaded the privacy of the Duchess of Sussex by publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father, arguing that she knew the letter would potentially be published. Above, Meghan Markle salutes during the Global Citizen festival, on Sept. 25, 2021 in New York. Stefan Jeremiah/AP Photo

Caldecott also argued that the publication of the letter was part of Thomas Markle's right to reply following misleading media reports that alleged he was "cruelly cold-shouldering" his daughter in the run-up to her royal wedding.

The publisher was ordered in March to print a front-page statement stating it had infringed the duchess's copyright, but the statement has not been published pending the outcome of the appeal.

Three senior judges preside over the appeal, which is expected to last three days. A ruling is due at a later date.

Meghan, a former star of the American TV legal drama Suits, married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

Meghan and Harry announced in early 2020 that they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.

Harry and Meghan Attend Festival
Meghan Markle wrote the leaked letter to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018 after she married Prince Harry. Above, Harry and Meghan speak during the 2021 Global Citizen Live festival at the Great Lawn, Central Park on September 25, 2021 in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images