Lawyers acting for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have accused British tabloid newspaper reporters of “manipulating” and “exploiting” her father during a remote court hearing.
A preliminary hearing in Meghan’s case against the Mail on Sunday’s publisher, Associated Newspapers, who she is suing over the publication of a “private and confidential” letter to her father, Thomas Markle, was held at Britain’s High Court on Friday despite the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Legal representatives dialled into the hearing, while the judge, Mr Justice Warby, is at the High Court, according to The Guardian.
In opening submissions, lawyers for the publisher sought to strike out parts of the actress-turned-royal’s complaint, including allegations of “harassing, humiliating, manipulating, and exploiting” Thomas Markle.
The publisher’s barrister said the accusations, “appear to have been put on to the record without the claimant (Meghan) having contacted her father to see if he agrees with them.”
After the hearing, Justice Warby will deliver a written judgment on a later date ahead of a trial.
Thomas Markle, who did not attend Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018 after he suffered a heart attack shortly after it emerged that he had staged paparazzi photographs in the run-up to the event, has claimed he felt pressured to share the contents of the letter at the centre of the case after it was referred to in a People magazine article.
In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, he explained: “I have to defend myself. I only released parts of the letter because other parts were so painful. The letter didn’t seem loving to me. I found it hurtful.”
Harry and Meghan have cut off relations with Britain’s tabloid newspapers after quitting their royal duties and moving to California. Harry is also separately suing the Mail on Sunday’s rival papers The Sun and The Mirror over historic phone-hacking allegations.