Meghan Markle 'asked two senior royals' for advice before writing to her father, court documents show

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read

Watch: Why is Meghan Markle suing the Mail on Sunday?

Meghan Markle asked two senior royals for advice before she wrote a letter to her father in the summer of 2018, according to court documents.

The members of the Royal Family are not named in the new document, in which the Duchess of Sussex also admits allowing a third party to feed her version of events to the authors of a biography about her and her husband.

Meghan previously denied working with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand for their biography Finding Freedom, which chronicled Harry and Meghan’s relationship and their eventual decision to step back as senior royals.

Scobie gave a statement to the High Court which said he did not interview either of the couple for the book.

However The Daily Telegraph reported documents filed with the High Court say the duchess was worried “her father’s narrative” that she had cut him off would be repeated.

So she told a third party her version so “the true position… could be communicated to the authors to prevent any further misrepresentation”.

The papers have been filed as part of Meghan’s ongoing court battle with Associated Newspapers Ltd, the publishers of the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Copies of 'Finding Freedom' are stacked up in Waterstones Piccadilly  on August 11, 2020 in London, England. Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Family is a biography of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, written by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie and published by Harper Collins.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan admitted she let a third party talk to the authors of Finding Freedom. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Read more: Meghan Markle's father's 'thoughts and feelings' are 'minor' in her court case, says judge

In 2019, the paper and the website published stories which included extracts of the letter she had written to her father after her wedding to Prince Harry, which her father did not attend for medical reasons.

Meghan is seeking damages from ANL citing misuse of private information and breach of copyright.

ANL contest the allegations. They recently won a court battle to use extracts of Finding Freedom in their defence.

Meghan’s paperwork filed on Wednesday addresses their claim that she could not have copyright because she was helped in putting together the letter.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 18: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex meet fans at Government House in Melbourne, Australia (Photo credit should read Chris Putnam / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Meghan at Government House in Melbourne, Australia. The couple stepped back from royal duties this year. (Chris Putnam/Barcroft Media)

The duchess says she wrote notes in the notes section of her phone and was given “feedback on the draft but no actual wording” by Jason Knauf, who at the time was Kensington Palace’s communications secretary.

The papers says she spoke to him and to the Duke of Sussex because “this was a deeply painful process that they lived through with her”.

The document said: “She shared a draft of that draft with her husband and Mr Knauf for support, as this was a deeply painful process that they lived through with her.”

It added: “In the course of a discussion between them, Mr Knauf provided feedback on that draft but no actual wording, as this was a personal letter from daughter to father.

“The comments Mr Knauf provided were in the form of ‘general ideas’ as opposed to actual wording.”

WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attends the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Jason Knauf, was communications secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, when he provided advice on the letter. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Read more: Why is Meghan Markle suing the Mail On Sunday?

The legal papers also say: “Given the claimant’s level of distress surrounding the form, frequency and content of the media coverage concerning her father, and as the newest member of the royal family who wanted to follow protocol, the claimant sought advice from two senior members of the royal family on how best to address the situation.

“In accordance with the advice that she had received from the two members of the royal family, the claimant decided (in about the first week of August 2018) to write a private letter to her father in an attempt to get him to stop talking to the press.”

Senior members of the Royal Family usually refers to the working members, and so could include the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, as well as the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The document says it was “palace protocol” that more senior members of the Royal Family would have needed to know that she was going to write to Thomas Markle.

It said they needed “to be kept apprised of any public-facing issues (the media spectacle surrounding Mr Markle being one such issue)”.

It added: “As is clear from the above, the genesis of, reasons for and intended use of the letter was the complete opposite of a ‘media strategy’.

“It was a private letter written and sent by the claimant to her father, on the advice of senior members of the royal family, in an attempt to protect her family, including her new family members, from further media intrusion and embarrassment to the institution.”

Earlier on Wednesday a ruling from Justice Warby declared the thoughts and feelings of Markle, 76, in the case were “relatively minor”.

Justice Warby also dismissed his concerns that he might die before proceedings take place.

Markle is listed as a potential witness against his daughter, by ANL.

The trial was set to begin on 11 January but has been delayed until autumn 2021.