Letter at centre of legal battle contained Meghan's 'most private thoughts and feelings'

29 July 2020, 05:40

Meghan Markle has launched the legal action against Associated Newspapers
Meghan Markle has launched the legal action against Associated Newspapers. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The letter at the centre of the Duchess of Sussex's legal battle with a British newspaper detailed her intimate "thoughts and feelings" about her father's health and their relationship.

The next stage of the Duchess of Sussex's legal action against a British newspaper over its publication of a "private and confidential" letter to her estranged father is set to be heard at the High Court.

Meghan is bringing legal action against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline over an article which included parts of a message she sent to her father Thomas Markle.

In court documents outlining her claim against the Associated Newspapers, her solicitors say the letter was "obviously private correspondence" and she did not expect the contents to be made public.

Quotes from the letter which was sent to Mr Markle in August 2018, were published in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline in February.

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The headline read: "Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan's rift with a father she says has 'broken her heart into a million pieces'."

In one extract, the duchess wrote: "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces - not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand."

Particulars of claim, prepared by Schillings law firm, on behalf of the duchess, say: "The letter was obviously private correspondence written by the claimant to her father.

"Further, it contained the claimant's deepest and most private thoughts and feelings about her relationship with her father and were detailed by her at a time of great personal anguish and distress.

"The claimant intended the detailed contents of the letter to be private, and certainly did not expect them to be published to the world at large by a national newspaper, and without any warning."

Associated Newspapers wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice Warby will hear an application by Meghan's lawyers to maintain the anonymity of her five friends who spoke anonymously to the People, a US magazine.