02 Dec 2021, 09:44

UK court to rule on Meghan privacy case appeal

  LONDON, Dec 2, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - A UK court will rule on Thursday on a
newspaper group's appeal against a previous judgement that it breached Meghan
Markle's privacy by publishing extracts of a letter to her estranged father.

  In a long-running legal battle, Associated Newspapers, which publishes the
Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and MailOnline, is appealing against a lower High
Court decision that the letter deserved privacy protections.

  A judge in February ruled that extracts of the 2018 letter from the Duchess
of Sussex published by the group the following year were "manifestly
excessive and... unlawful".

  The judge ordered Associated Newspapers to pay hundreds of thousands of
pounds in interim legal costs and to print a front-page statement
acknowledging her legal victory.

  But that has been on hold while it challenges whether the judge was right
to rule in Meghan's favour without holding a full trial.

  Associated argues that Meghan wrote the correspondence to Thomas Markle
knowing it was likely to be leaked, and despite claiming the opposite.

  "The letter was crafted specifically with the potential of public
consumption in mind because the claimant appreciated Mr Markle might disclose
it to the media," a lawyer for the publishers argued in the Court of Appeal
last month.

  The letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle was written a few months
after she married Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Prince Harry.

  In it, she asked him to stop talking to tabloids and making false claims
about her in interviews.

  - Biography controversy -

  Meghan, 40, and 37-year-old Harry, who now live in the United States after
stepping down from frontline royal duties last year, have taken legal action
against a number of publications, alleging invasion of privacy.

  In its appeal, Associated Newspapers has relied in part on new testimony
from Meghan's former communications adviser.

  Last month, Meghan apologised to the court after admitting she had allowed
Jason Knauf to brief the authors of a favourable biography of her short
tenure as a frontline royal in Britain, despite previous denials on the

  The publishers submitted a witness statement from Knauf which outlined that
he had provided information to the authors of the biography, "Finding

  The best-selling book was "discussed on a routine basis" and "directly with
the duchess multiple times in person and over email", Knauf added.

  In her own witness statement, Meghan apologised for misleading the court,
accepting that she had forgotten that he had provided some information to,
and even met with, the authors with her "knowledge".

  "The extent of the information he shared is unknown to me," she added,
noting she had "absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or
the court".

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