In her legal action against the Sunday tabloid for publishing a private letter to her father, the Duchess of Sussex claims it deliberately omitted her warnings to him about the British press.
The Mail on Sunday omitted warnings given by Meghan Markle to her reportedly estranged father about the British tabloid press exploiting him in a letter it published which is at the centre of an explosive legal dispute between the duchess and the newspaper.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing the Mail on Sunday’s parent company Associated Newspapers, claiming that it unlawfully published a private letter which she wrote to her father Thomas Markle, who lives in Mexico.
According to reports in the British tabloids over the past year, Prince Harry’s wife is estranged from her father, who did not attend her royal wedding and sold staged photographs to paparazzi of him trying on wedding suits ahead of the marriage last May. Since their relationship reportedly deteriorated, Mr Markle has given a number of interviews to the British tabloids about his daughter.
In publishing the letter, the Duchess of Sussex is claiming that The Mail on Sunday is liable for misusing private information, infringing her copyright and breaching the Data Protection Act 2018.
In a statement announcing the legal action and condemning the press’ treatment of his American wife, Prince Harry claimed that the Mail on Sunday had “purposely misled” readers “by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year”.
In its front page splash in February, the Mail on Sunday declared: Thomas Markle reveals full content of letter written to him by daughter Meghan.
However, in the particulars of the Duchess’ claim – lodged at the High Court by her lawyers Schillings on 11 October and seen by Byline Investigates – it is alleged that the Mail on Sunday “chose to deliberately omit or suppress parts of the letter in a highly misleading and dishonest manner, including even cutting out words in the middle of a sentence or whole sentences out of a paragraph.”
The Duchess alleges that the Sunday tabloid intended to “deceive the public” by stating that it was disclosing the “full content” of the “five-page letter”.
The legal document also reproduced two pages of the letter with the published sections blurred and the unused parts redacted:
While the Mail on Sunday has categorically denied that the Duchess’s letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, the legal document also suggests that some of the passages omitted “which amount to almost half the letter, were removed as they demonstrate the [Duchess’] kindness and concern about the UK tabloid media exploiting her father, and did not fit the [Mail on Sunday‘s] narrative.”.
Furthermore, the Duchess of Sussex claims that Associated Newspapers has an “obvious agenda of publishing intrusive or offensive stories… intended to portray her in a false and damaging light”.
Examples of articles which have been a part of this agenda, cited by the Duchess and published by Mail Online include:
Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?
Kitchen supported by Meghan’s cookbook is housed inside mosque ‘which has links to 19 terror suspects including Jihadi John‘
How Meghan Markle’s Australian aide Samantha ‘the Panther’ Cohen rose from a Brisbane home to Buckingham Palace – before becoming the second aide to walk out on the ‘difficult Duchess‘
How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack – beloved of all millennials – is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.
Byline Investigates is Byline Media’s Investigations Unit