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Meghan Markle has said that she was “unprotected by the institution” of the British monarchy and was “prohibited from defending herself” in the face of savage media attacks on her when she was part of the royal family, in bombshell new court documents filed as part of her legal battle with the Mail on Sunday.
Meghan has also doubled down on her claim that she did not authorize or collaborate with five of her friends who gave a lengthy interview to America’s People magazine, in which one of them mentioned that Meghan had sent a letter to her estranged father, Thomas.
Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday for breach of copyright and invasion of privacy after it published excerpts of that hand-written letter to her father.
The Mail’s defense hinges on their claim that Meghan authorized or arranged for her friends to tell People magazine about her letter to her father.
The publishers of the Mail on Sunday, Associated Newspapers, argue that because she allowed her friends to discuss the letter, she effectively gave up her privacy rights.
Meghan’s team were furious Wednesday night after the Mail published excerpts from the paperwork filed by Meghan (issued in response to a request from Associated for further information) before it had been made public by the courts.
In their court filing, Meghan’s team also named the five friends who gave the interview, raising the tantalizing prospect that they may be called to give evidence.
However, to protect their anonymity for now, they are referred to in the documents as Friends A, B, C, D, and E.
In the course of an extensive series of responses, Meghan’s lawyers make a number of jaw-dropping claims that lift the lid on just how unhappy she was in the UK.
It says that her friends independently decided to talk to the media following a “large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media,” which, “caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.”
The filing adds, “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”
In a swipe at the Kensington Palace communications team who represented her, Meghan’s lawyers say, “It was mandated by the KP Communications Team that all friends and family of the Claimant should say ‘no comment’ when approached by any media outlet, despite misinformation being provided to UK tabloids about the Claimant.
“This shared frustration amongst the Claimant’s friends left everyone feeling silenced, as it appeared that other so-called sources were able to disseminate false statements about the Claimant, while the people who knew her best were told that they needed to remain silent. The Claimant believes that it is probably because of this reason, as well as concerns about the press intrusion by the UK tabloids, that a few friends chose to participate and they did so anonymously.”
In the paperwork, Meghan admits telling Friend A that she was writing “a letter to her father at the time of penning it, which was seven months prior to the People magazine publication. The Claimant and Friend A discussed the existence of the Letter (but not the contents) again in September, when the Claimant received a reply from her father, and again discussed the existence of the Letter (but not the contents) in December as the Claimant’s father continued to give interviews to UK media falsely claiming he had not heard from his daughter.”
Meghan says that she “did not know about the interview having been given, and only found out about it, and any reference to the Letter, after the People magazine article was published… The Claimant did not know that her Letter to her father would be referred to.”
Meghan argues that Friend A’s inaccurate description of the letter to People shows she had not briefed her friend to discuss it.
The papers add that Meghan “did not know which of her friends had been involved and only found this information out some considerable time later.”
In one heartbreaking section of the filing, Meghan’s team describe the hopeful and loving preparations she made for her father’s visit to England for her wedding, saying she “made arrangements for her father to have complete custom outfits for the wedding week, including a morning suit and dinner suits, which entailed arranging an appointment with a professional tailor in Los Angeles for her father’s measurements to be taken (which he attended) and then for professional tailors in London and Canada to make the suits (at her expense) so that they would be ready for him when he came over for the wedding.”
The papers add that Meghan “took care to consider and to organize everything her father may need from all clothing items for each scheduled event, to accommodations, all transports, and a dedicated assistant on the ground to be with him during his time in the UK.”
Of course, as students of royal history know all too well, Meghan’s father did not attend the wedding after having a heart attack in the days preceding it.
A source close to Meghan told The Daily Beast via email: “This case centers on a private and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by the Mail on Sunday. This gross violation of any person's right to privacy is obvious and unlawful.
“The Duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed. Throughout this process, the extremes to which the Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target The Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display.”