Meghan Markle 'did authorise a friend to talk to Finding Freedom authors', court papers say

Meghan Markle
Meghan's legal team confirmed that the Duchess did tell a friend they could talk to the authors of the book. Credit: AP

The Duchess of Sussex has admitted that she did tell one of her friends that they could talk to the authors of a book about Meghan’s relationship with her father.

The claim is central to the arguments between the Duchess and the owners of the Mail on Sunday newspaper in her privacy battle with them.

The newspaper's defence includes a claim that Meghan and Prince Harry must have co-operated with the authors of the Finding Freedom biography in some form.

Papers filed in the High Court on Wednesday from her legal team show that she wanted a friend to communicate with the authors to "prevent further misrepresentation" of her relationship with her father Thomas Markle.

The Duchess is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing the letter she wrote to Thomas Markle shortly after the Royal Wedding in 2018.

The documents say that Meghan "was concerned that her father’s narrative in the media that she had abandoned him and had not even tried to contact him (which was false) would be repeated, when in fact she had tried to call him, and text him, and had even written a letter to him to try to persuade him to stop dealing with the media."

Meghan spent 'several weeks' drafting the letter to her father, Thomas Markle. Credit: GMB

Her legal team says the Duchess "indicated to a person whom she knew had already been approached by the authors that the true position… could be communicated to the authors to prevent any further misrepresentation".

The court papers also show that Meghan finds it "deeply offensive" that the newspaper has claimed that she wrote the letter to her father as part of a "media strategy".

But she does admit to discussing her relationship with her father with two – as yet unidentified - members of the Royal Family, other than her husband Harry.

She also says she showed drafts of her letter to the then Press Secretary at Kensington Palace.

The court papers reveal that Meghan spent several weeks drafting the letter to her father in the notes section of her iPhone and then shared the drafts with the head of press, Jason Knauf and Prince Harry "for support, as this was a deeply painful process that they lived through with her".

It adds: "In the course of a discussion between them, Mr Knauf provided feedback on that draft but no actual wording, as this was a personal letter from daughter to father."

The Mail on Sunday will claim in its defence that Meghan’s "private letter" was less private given that it had been shared with a palace advisor and discussed in advance with two members of Harry’s family.

If this case does go to trial, it will be held in October 2021.

But in January there will be a Summary Judgement hearing at which a High Court judge will be asked to decide whether the case can be decided without trial on the basis that one side has an overwhelmingly convincing case.