Mail on Sunday can rely on recent Harry and Meghan book in High Court case

29 September 2020, 15:33 | Updated: 29 September 2020, 15:51

File photo: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
File photo: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Getty

The Mail on Sunday can rely on a recent biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in its defence of Meghan's High Court privacy claim over the publication of a letter to her estranged father.

Meghan, 39, is suing the newspaper's publisher Associated Newspapers (ANL) for alleged misuse of private information, breaching the Data Protection Act and infringement of copyright in relation to the publication of parts of a handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 76, in August 2018.

The duchess took legal action last year over five articles published in February 2019 - two in the Mail on Sunday and three on MailOnline - which included extracts from the "private and confidential" letter to her father.

At a preliminary hearing last week, ANL asked for permission to amend its written defence to Meghan's claim to argue that the Sussexes "co-operated" with the authors of Finding Freedom, which was published in August.

The publisher argued that Meghan gave the authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, information about the letter to Mr Markle "in order to set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her".

Meghan Markle opens up about the struggles of being in the public eye

But Meghan's lawyers said accusations the duke and duchess "collaborated" with the authors was a "conspiracy theory" and argued that references to the letter in the book were simply "extracts from the letter lifted from the defendant's own articles".

Ruling on ANL's application on Tuesday, Judge Francesca Kaye allowed the publisher to amend its defence to rely on Finding Freedom.

The judge said the amended defence did not raise "new defences", but simply added "further particulars" of ANL's case.

She added that Meghan "knows the case she has to meet" and that "there is no suggestion that she is in fact unable to do so".

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