Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

'Finding Freedom': Meghan Markle's lawyers deny she co-operated with royal book authors

The Duchess of Sussex denies that she was interviewed and provided photos for the book

FILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019 file photo, Britain's Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Creative Industries and Business Reception at the British High Commissioner's residence, in Johannesburg, where they will meet with representatives of the British and South African business communities, including local youth entrepreneurs. British media reports said Friday Oct. 4, 2019 that Britian's Prince Harry has launched legal proceeds at the High Court against two British tabloid newspapers over alleged phone hacking. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019 file photo, Britain's Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the Creative Industries and Business Reception at the British High Commissioner's residence, in Johannesburg, where they will meet with representatives of the British and South African business communities, including local youth entrepreneurs. British media reports said Friday Oct. 4, 2019 that Britian's Prince Harry has launched legal proceeds at the High Court against two British tabloid newspapers over alleged phone hacking. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool via AP, File)

Lawyers for a British newspaper publisher that's being sued for invasion of privacy by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, argued on Monday that she made personal information public by co-operating with the authors of a book about her relationship with Prince Harry.

Meghan, 39, is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs

Justin Rushbrooke QC, Meghan’s lawyer

Meghan is seeking damages from publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim. At a hearing on Monday at the High Court in London, the publisher sought to amend its defence in light of a book about the couple published last month.

It said the book, Finding Freedom, “contains a great deal of detailed information about [Meghan’s] personal life, including a number of passages referring to her relationship and communications with her father, and a section referring to the letter which is at the heart of this case”.

Antony White, the lawyer for Associated Newspapers, said in written submissions that the book appeared to have been written with Meghan and Harry’s “extensive co-operation”.

Meghan’s lawyers denied that she co-operated with the authors of the book, Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie.

Justin Rushbrooke QC who is representing Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex arrives at the High Court in London, on Monday, September 21, 2020. AP Photo
Justin Rushbrooke QC, who is representing Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, arrives at the High Court in London on Monday, September 21. AP

“The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book,” Meghan’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke QC, said in a written submission.

Monday’s court session was the latest preliminary hearing in the high-cost, high-profile case. A full trial is currently scheduled to begin in January.

After an earlier hearing in May, a judge dismissed parts of Meghan’s claim, including allegations that Associated Newspapers acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain parts of her letter to her father.

The judge also struck out allegations that the publisher deliberately stirred up issues between Meghan and her father and that it had an agenda in publishing intrusive articles about her.

Last month High Court judge Mark Warby ruled, “for the time being at least”, that the duchess can keep secret the names of five close friends who defended her anonymously in an American magazine against alleged UK media bullying.

Meghan’s request was granted to spare them a “frenzy of publicity” before the case comes to a full trial.

Meghan, former star of TV legal drama Suits, married Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

P3YX4G aerial view of small town of Montecito near Santa Barbara, California, USA. Alamy
Aerial view of Montecito in Santa Barbara County, California, where Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, now live. Alamy

This year the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was unbearable intrusion and racist attitudes from the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara County, California.

Updated: September 21, 2020 05:42 PM

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