Meghan Markle’s father is prepared to testify against her over a claim that a tabloid newspaper unlawfully published one of her private letters to him.
Legal documents seen by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ have confirmed Thomas Markle’s evidence will form part of the ‘Mail on Sunday’s’ defence against legal action for breach of privacy, copyright and data protection taken by Ms Markle, who has the title of Duchess of Sussex.
The court papers disclose text messages sent from Mr Markle to his daughter and lay bare their deteriorating relationship at the time of her wedding to Prince Harry.
The papers were filed at the High Court in London yesterday, a day after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth released a statement confirming the couple’s split from the royal family, leaving her “hurt” and “disappointed”.
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The royal family is working out a deal that will enable the Sussexes to adopt a new role that could give them financial independence and allow them to spend more time in Canada.
The duchess was seen yesterday for the first time since returning to Canada, boarding a seaplane on Vancouver Island without her son, Archie.
If her case against the ‘Mail on Sunday’ goes to trial rather than being settled out of court, it is likely Mr Markle will testify against his daughter and Meghan will be forced to give evidence against him.
Submitted by the ‘Mail on Sunday’s’ parent company, Associated Newspapers, the 44-page defence accuses the “self-promoting” duchess of “knowingly” making public the contents of the letter to paint her in a more flattering light.
The documents, seemingly written with Mr Markle’s co-operation, justify publication of excerpts from the letter and his response to it last February, insisting it was “necessary for the sake of truth, fairness, and Mr Markle’s reputation, and so that the public should not be misled”.
It adds: “The Claimant’s privacy rights do not extend to silencing her father.”
Last October, Prince Harry said he and his wife had been forced to take action against “relentless propaganda” from Associated Newspapers’ publications in an emotive attack on what he described as a “ruthless campaign” against his wife.
Accusing the tabloid media of “bullying” behaviour which “destroys people and destroys lives”, he evoked memories of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, saying his “deepest fear is history repeating itself”.
The ‘Mail on Sunday’ published the excerpts, along with an interview with Mr Markle, four days after the American magazine ‘People’ published articles said to have been based on anonymous interviews with five of the duchess’s closest friends standing up against the “global bullying” she had faced.
As well as confirming the existence of the letter, the unnamed “sisterhood” told ‘People’ that Mr Markle had never contacted his daughter, claiming the duchess was “calling, texting, even up to the night before the wedding” on May 19, 2018 after he had to pull out following an emergency heart procedure.
But according to the court documents, the last message Mr Markle received was a text allegedly sent on May 17 “admonishing him for talking to the press, telling him to stop and accusing him of causing hurt to his daughter”.
It was purportedly signed: “Love M and H.” The defence also claims the couple “did not ask how he was or how the surgery had gone”.
The document includes details as to how Mr Markle felt “hung out to dry” and no one came to see him ahead of the wedding, whereas the duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, had been personally informed of the royal engagement by two British embassy officials who knocked at her Los Angeles home.
Questioning claims the duchess called him 20 times when he was in hospital, the defence alleges Mr Markle did not receive “any cards or well wishes” and even contradicts the duchess’s claim that she funded herself through university. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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