A U.K. newspaper being sued by Meghan Markle for publishing a letter to her father has rejected the Duchess of Sussex’s claims, arguing a “huge and legitimate public interest” in the Royal Family and suggesting it may call on Thomas Markle to give evidence in court.
The Mail on Sunday filed a legal defense in the British high court on Tuesday, almost four months after Markle filed a lawsuit against the outlet and parent group Associated Newspapers, with her complaints including misuse of personal data, selective editing of Thomas Markle’s letter, breach of copyright and invasion of privacy.
The outlet has said in response that Markle and other royals “rely on publicity about themselves and their lives to maintain the privileged positions they hold.” It added that she could not “have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so.”
The paper cited a “huge” public interest in the royals that “extends not merely to their public conduct, but to their personal and family relationships because those are integral to the proper functioning of the monarchy.”
Evidence from Thomas Markle constitutes portions of the paper’s defense, suggesting that he could be called in for court proceedings.
The filing reads: “Thomas Markle had a weighty right to tell his version of what had happened between himself and his daughter including the contents of the letter. She did not suggest that they try to repair their relationship.
In a 44-page filing, The Mail on Sunday defends each of Markle’s claims, noting that her letter was not a protected “original literary work” but rather a recounting of existing facts.
It also points out that the former “Suits” actor has not denied allowing her friends to speak to People magazine for an article, despite saying she did not court publicity for her relationship with her father.
Rebuking Markle’s data infringement claim, The Mail on Sunday says the data was not sensitive and covered topics she had already introduced to the public domain.
It stands by the published extracts, saying they conveyed the tone, content and meaning of the letter accurately.
The outlet’s lengthy defense comes two days after the Queen convened senior royals at Sandringham to discuss Prince Harry and Markle’s decision to step back from full-time duties.
In a rare personal statement released on Monday, the monarch made clear that the family is “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.”
She added, “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
On Tuesday, Markle – who is not believed to have ultimately joined in via conference call for Monday’s crisis talks between the family – visited a women’s center in downtown Vancouver. It marked her first public appearance since the bombshell announcement last week.