The long awaited court case between Meghan Markle and Associated Newspapers has begun, with Meghan suing on the grounds of invasion of privacy, misuse of personal data and breach of copyright, following the publication of a private, handwritten letter she had sent to her father, Thomas Markle.
The basis for Meghan’s privacy claims appear to be that Associated Newspapers – who publish The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline – had edited portions of her letter in an attempt to show her in a negative manner.
Associated Newspapers are defending themselves stating that there was no agreement between Meghan and Mr Markle that the letter should stay a private matter. Furthermore, they claim that as a member of Britain’s royal family, Meghan should not expect the same level of privacy as she once did as an actress.
They also claim that following a ‘one-sided’ article published by People Magazine in February 2019 in which five ‘close friends’ of the Duchess referred to the letter, the letter’s very existence was already public knowledge.
Recent court papers have highlighted information that shows Meghan had in fact continued to try and speak with her father before her wedding in May 2018.
Released via attorneys, Meghan has shown that her husband, Prince Harry, and herself had tried to contact Mr Markle several times, expressing their concerns about him, proving the British tabloids’ claims that they had ignored her father as false.
Following the staged paparazzi photographs of Mr Markle that were released, Harry messaged him on May 15 in an attempt to clear the air of any embarrassment.
“Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize (sic), we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse. If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don’t involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation. So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks. Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.”
Although Mr Markle had not replied to Harry’s messages it was later revealed that he had actually suffered a heart attack and was in hospital, leading to Mr Markle having to cancel walking Meghan down the aisle at her wedding in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Meghan had also attempted to contact her father, a fact that is mentioned several times in the 33-page court document. Also on May 15 she messaged her father saying:
“I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts… Very concerned about your health and safety and have taken every measure to protect you but not sure what more we can do if you don’t respond… Do you need help? Can we send the security team down again? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in the hospital but need you to please get in touch with us… What hospital are you at?”
Around ten minutes later Meghan sent a further message informing Mr Markle of a decision she had made with her husband:
“Harry and I made a decision earlier today and are dispatching the same security guys you turned away this weekend to be a presence on the ground to make sure you’re safe… they will be there at your disposal as soon as you need them. Please please call as soon as you can… all of this is incredibly concerning but your health is most important.”
However, the papers state that Mr Markle declined their help saying, “While Mr Markle responded later that evening to say that he appreciated the offer but did not feel in danger and would instead recover at a motel.”
Reports in Harper’s Bazaar stated that Mr Markle had previously refused any help from Kensington Palace or the couple even though tabloids had repeatedly harassed him at his home in Mexico.
On the morning of the wedding Meghan missed a call at 4.57am and confirms she only spoke with her dad after that day in writing, something Mr Markle appears to deny, stating in December 2018 that Meghan had “ghosted” him following her wedding.
The legal action brought by the Sussexes’ was announced in October 2019 with Harry writing on their website:
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”
“Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations – something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.”
Harry has openly admitted he has a distrust for the media, who he feels were responsible for the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who passed away following a car crash in 1997 after being pursued by paparazzi.