The Duchess of Sussex yesterday asked a judge to rule in her favour in a privacy claim against a newspaper.
Lawyers for Meghan, 39, said her legal action should be decided by Mr Justice Warby without proceeding to full trial.
The duchess is suing the publisher of The Mail on Sunday, the sister paper of the Daily Mail, after it published extracts from a letter she wrote to her father following her marriage to Prince Harry.
Her lawyers say the letter was ‘intrinsically private, personal and sensitive’ and was never intended to be made public.
Justin Rushbrooke QC, for the duchess, said the publication of extracts from the letter was a ‘triple-barrelled’ assault on her ‘private life, her family life and her correspondence’.
He said the letter had outlined the duchess’s ‘constant love’ for her father Thomas Markle, 76, and her fears for his health.
The Duchess of Sussex asked a High Court judge to rule in her favour in her privacy claim against a newspaper yesterday
Written in August 2018, it is at the centre of the high-stakes privacy case at the High Court in London. Lawyers for The Mail on Sunday deny breaches of privacy, copyright and data protection and have asked that the case continue to trial later this year.
They argued that the duchess expected the letter to become public, and effectively breached her own privacy by allowing her friends to speak to a US magazine on her behalf.
Mr Rushbrooke said both Meghan and Harry had attempted to guard their privacy following fears about Mr Markle speaking to journalists. They were in regular contact with Mr Markle in the run-up to their 2018 wedding, he said, and had been worried about him. Meghan offered to help protect her father against intrusive paparazzi photographers, the court heard.
Meghan’s letter to her father was written after her wedding, and lawyers for the newspaper said it was vital that she should face questions over alleged ‘inconsistencies’ in her account of how she came to write it.
The duchess has always insisted she wrote the ‘deeply painful’ letter herself. She said she informed Jason Knauf, Kensington Palace’s director of communications, about her letter and showed him a draft.
Lawyers for the newspaper argue she consulted Mr Knauf because she expected the letter to become public. They are seeking further information from him and three other senior royal aides over the letter. The quartet were named in legal documents seen by the court as Mr Knauf, Samantha Cohen, Christian Jones and Sara Latham.
At the time the letter was written, shortly after Meghan’s marriage to Harry, Miss Cohen was their private secretary and the other three worked in the Kensington Palace communications office.
Lawyers for the duchess said a legal firm representing the quartet, Addleshaw Goddard, had confirmed that ‘one or more of our clients would be in a position to shed some light on the following issues: the creation of the letter and the electronic draft’.
Justin Rushbrooke QC said the letter had outlined the duchess’s ‘constant love’ for her father Thomas Markle, 76, and her fears for his health
All four said they were willing to give evidence but did not wish to ‘take sides’, the court heard.
A new witness statement from The Mail on Sunday editor Ted Verity claimed Mr Knauf worked on drafts of the letter with the duchess. He said a source had told him that Sara Latham had helped the authors of a controversial biography of Meghan and Harry, Finding Freedom.
Mr Verity said Miss Latham had effectively been ‘fact-checking’ for the authors.
Antony White QC, for the newspaper, said it should be able to question the duchess about ‘inconsistencies’ in her case. It would only be able to do so if the case went to full trial. He added: ‘There are now on the record a number of inconsistent statements made by her that she will need to explain.’
The hearing continues.