The Court of Appeal has heard that Meghan Markle claims that a letter she wrote to Thomas Markle was confidential and meant for her father only have been proven false by text messages she sent to an aide to the royal. These texts revealed Meghan Markle intended to send the message to the public with the intention of consuming it.
Jason Knauf, her ex-communications chief at Kensington Palace, was accused of denying that the Duchess had cooperated with Finding Freedom’s authors.
MailOnline and Sunday’s Mail publisher began a legal challenge to a High Court ruling that declared that the publication of extracts from Meghan’s 2018 correspondence was illegal.
MailOnline and Mail on Sunday sued the Duchess for publicizing parts of the handwritten note. The Duchess insists that it was confidential correspondence she wrote to her father, after which he suffered a heart attack.
The London Court of Appeal was informed by the publisher that new evidence has been presented proving the privacy case brought up before Lord Justice Warby was dismissed.
Andrew Caldecott QC (for ANL) told judges that Mr Knauf’s new evidence in text form raises questions regarding Meghan’s “credibility”. He claimed that the letter had been written to be readable by all and was intended for public consumption.
It was far from being an intimate communication meant for Thomas Markle’s only eyes, Meghan wrote it knowing that Thomas Markle would ‘disclose it to the media’. This letter was written with public consumption in mind.
ANL believes Thomas Markle also had the right of revealing the contents of his letter in order to correct some errors in an article published in People magazine days before ANL’s five articles. This magazine featured an interview featuring five Meghan friends who discussed the note in great detail.
Meghan Markle sues Associated Newspapers Limited [ANL]Over a number of articles that reproduced portions of her letter to Thomas Markle (pictured together in August 2018).
ANL has appealed the decision and claimed that it was written with public consumption in view. ANL claims that Jason Knauf was the Duchess, her former royal communications chief and who is now employed by Harry’s brother Prince William “contradicts” the evidence presented to the judge in his favor earlier this year.
Caldecott QC said ANL’s defence of the privacy claim by Duchess Sussex had to have been heard.
According to the publisher, Meghan cooperated with the authors of “Finding Freedom”, citing evidence from Jason Knauf, her ex-aide
The Court of Appeal was informed by him that Meghan’s claim had been ‘diminished’ and ‘outweighed’ in her response to the false or misleading allegations in People magazine, the US.
He explained that both the People article as well as the letter of the claimant make accusations against Markle for cruelly cold shouldering him in the period before the wedding. This article or the gist was widely reported.
“We believe there is a significant difference in what Markle stated and what he was said,” the barrister continued.
He stated: ‘The defendant asserts that it has a strongly argumentable case to show that, by the time the articles were published, the claimant had no longer been able to have a reasonable expectation for privacy regarding the contents of the letters.
ANL claims that Jason Knauf was the former chief of royal communications for the Duchess. He now works as a consultant to Harry and Prince William.
Five of their friends decided to “help” by anonymously giving interviews to People magazine. The magazine has over 35 million readers around the world. Meghan says she did not know about it
Mr Knauf claims Meghan also conspired with Finding Freedom’s authors, something she previously denied in a High Court case.
According to Mr Caldecott, “At or around the time that the People article was published, the claimant collaborated with the authors of Finding Freedom through her communications secretary Jason Knauf, in Autumn 2018 and Winter 2018.
The claimant expressly denies any cooperation in this regard with one minor concession, which is contrary to the evidence presented by Mr Knauf.
“The claimant stated that the book wasn’t published until August 2020. This was long after her complaints about the articles. However, it reproduces in substantial detail the case of the father who behaved badly before the wedding.
“Against this backdrop, the defendant [ANL]It argues that it can prove that the claimant did not have a reasonable expectation for privacy at the time the articles were published. This is despite the fact that the article was intended to be read by all. If it is [didn’t, it was] diminished and outweighed by Mr Markle’s right of reply, the need for correction and wider public interest – those three concepts all being distinct and all engaged.
“Lastly, contemporaneous documents can prove that the claimant’s plead case is materially falsified. One limited admission was made by the claimant, which denied co-operation in any way with the authors. The claimant also denies that she knew Mr Markle might leak the letter, and it was therefore written in a completely private manner.
“We claim that this raises doubts about her credibility.”
A preview of the Oprah “tell-all” interview with the Sussexes is shown here
Meghan (40) had sued Associated Newspapers Limited, also publisher of MailOnline over a number of articles that reproduced portions of a ‘personally and private’ email to Mr Markle in August 2018.
The five articles she claimed were published online and in print in February 2019 infringed on her copyright.
Meghan was successful in her claim that Mail on Sunday violated her privacy, publishing extracts from a mail she had sent to her estranged dad Thomas Markle
Meghan was successful in winning her case. Lord Justice Warby, a judge, ruled ANL’s publication Meghan’s letter addressed to her father as’manifestly excessive and therefore unlawful’ since it was a private and personal letter.
Caldecott stated that Meghan “made no effort” to correct an article published by People magazine US. It featured an interview featuring five of Meghan’s friends. Mr Markle said that he had considered the article to be an attack on him.
According to him, the Court of Appeal London had heard from her that the new evidence by Mr Knauf, still not made public, proves that she had co-operated personally with Finding Freedom’s authors. This she denied. She had only indirectly informed them about her relationship to her father via a friend, according to the High Court.
According to him, the Mail on Sunday case and MailOnline cases are that Thomas Markle is entitled to a reply. This was based on Mr Knauf’s evidence as well as how the letter was assembled with help from her Kensington Palace team.
Caldecott stated that the letter from the claimant and the article in PEOPLE both allege cruelly cold shouldering of the claimant during the pre-wedding time. These allegations are clearly false or misleading when viewed in light of text messages. The judge has not provided any legal grounds for the dismissal of the case. We contest this.
Meghan’s legal teams are against the appeal. They argue that the judge arrived at the right conclusion based upon the evidence.
The lawyers also oppose the use of Mr Knauf’s evidence. They say that Meghan would also like to present new evidence if the court accepts the statement.
Lord Justice Warby made the following statement in February: “It was, short, a personal, and private letter.”
“The bulk of what was published was about claimant’s personal behaviour and her feelings about father’s conduct as she saw them, along with the resulting rift.
These are private, personal issues that must be kept secret.
Judge said that ‘the only viable justification for such interference was in order to correct some inaccuracies regarding the letter’. This article appeared in People magazine days before ANL’s five articles. It featured an interview with Meghan’s friends.
Lord Justice Warby said: “The inevitable conclusion is, except to the very limited extent that I have identified,” that the disclosures were not necessary or proportionate for that purpose.
“For the most part, they didn’t serve that purpose at any point.”
“Taken together, the disclosures were clearly excessive and therefore unlawful.”
On March 1, the editor was required to place a statement on Sunday’s Mail On Sunday, as well as a notice page three stating that the newspaper had violated her copyright and published parts of the letter addressed to Mr Markle.
However, the headline about Meghan’s victory is not yet published. It has been put on hold in the meantime.
ANL was also ruled in May on copyright issues. The judge stated that ANL had to ‘use its best efforts’ to find any copies of Meghan’s draft letter to Markle. They must then give them to publisher’s attorneys, who will destroy them at the conclusion of the case, as long as claimant succeeds.
Judge concluded that he was able to make rulings on the merits of each case without having to go through a trial.
Sir Geoffrey Vos (Dame Victoria Sharp) and Lord Justice Bean are hearing the publisher’s appeal over three days. Judges will likely rule at a later date.
Thomas Markle sent Meghan and Harry a text message to express his love and to say that he was happy for them. He also said to his daughter, “I can’t wait until you walk me down the aisle” days before the royal wedding.
Thomas Markle texted his daughter in the run up to the royal wedding in 2018 to say how excited he was to travel to Britain and walk her down the aisle – when Meghan’s friends later told People magazine he was giving her the ‘cold shoulder’, the court heard today.
Mr Markle also apologised to Meghan and Harry for his heart problems that meant he couldn’t come to Windsor on doctor’s orders, and also repeatedly told them he loved them both.
But these texts from Thomas Markle to the Duchess of Sussex and Harry about his health, and showing her his love, were ‘ignored’ in the High Court judgment, ANL said.
Andrew Caldecott, QC for ANL, said they were ‘central’ to why Mr Markle had made extracts of the letter she sent to him public.
He said: ‘There are many texts from Mr Markle – they are all affectionate and were abundant in the run up to the wedding’.
In one message on the 11th of May he told her: ‘I know your hard work to make me look good. Thanks. I’m getting excited, it’s all so close now, I can’t wait to walk you down the aisle’, the court heard today.
Prince Harry accepted the apology minutes later after Mr Markle had also apologized for the paparazzi photographs in a message.
Meghan then wrote: ‘You’re replying to any of our calls and messages’ but Thomas then texted back to say he is in hospital for an angiogram, adding: ‘Sorry about this. Love you guys’.
The man texted him later to let them know he was going to have stents placed and that he still loved them.
On May 16 Thomas says: ‘Surgery went ok. Heart attack did some damage. But the doctor won’t allow me to fly so of course I’m sorry I can’t come. Love you and wish you the best of everything’.
Mr Caldecott said that these messages were ignored in the People article that said he ‘never called, never texted, just ignored her’.
On May 17 Thomas then said in a text: ‘Who will give you away? You really do need me. I will be here. I’m sorry about this’.
Then Prince Harry sent a ‘very strong’ text, not read in court, that ‘upset’ Mr Markle, ‘who was alone in hospital having just had a heart procedure’, Mr Caldecott said.
The QC added: ‘He [Thomas Markle]He kept in touch with his daughter, and it was tender and understanding until the end.
‘The portrayal of the pre-wedding contact between father and daughter was arguably at least a travesty of what actually occurred and to Mr Markle’s discredit, because to cold shoulder your own daughter in the run up to her wedding is a pretty extreme thing to be accused of.
‘Those texts don’t feature in the judgment at all’.
Mr Caldecott said: ‘Taking the run-up to wedding as an example. The People article, “Painful mistruths”, says this: “While her dad Thomas Markle has said she shut him out, claims her friends say are Patently false.
‘The second paragraph has a reference to Prince Harry and then to the claimant as an uncaring daughter: “Meg has “silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths”. We say Mr Markle was fully entitled to take that as an allegation he lied about that matter.”.’
Mr Caldecott then quoted the People piece again, which said: ‘Tom wouldn’t take her calls, wouldn’t take Harry’s calls. The next morning when the car came to take him to the airport he wouldn’t get in. Later, Meg heard he had a heart attack and she’s calling and texting….it was like, please pick up, I love you and I’m scared…it was endless’.
Caldecott gave his verdict, saying: “What is he doing?” [the judge]It doesn’t address the hurtful allegation he made that, on the night of his daughter’s big day, he was simply not paying attention to her and didn’t even tell her he was unwell. This is why texts are important.