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Meghan Markle may have leaked the contents of her own letter even before her dad gave it to the Mail on Sunday

INSIDER logoINSIDER 4 days ago Mikhaila Friel
Meghan Markle et al. posing for the camera © Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
  • Meghan Markle has been accused of leaking the contents of the private letter she wrote to her father even before it was published by the Mail On Sunday.
  • The Duchess of Sussex is suing the publication over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2008 after it published excerpts from the letter earlier this year.
  • However, an anonymous friend of the royal quoted the letter during an interview with People magazine back in February.
  • The friend said: "She's like, 'Dad. I'm so heartbroken. I love you, I have one father. Please stop victimizing me through the media so we can repair our relationship.'"
  • Markle "could be asked to swear on oath" whether she orchestrated the interview, The Mirror reports.
  • However, legal expert Michael Sweeney told Insider this would be unlikely to negatively impact Markle's chances of winning her lawsuit.

Meghan Markle is being accused of "invading her own privacy" by leaking the contents of the private letter she sent to her father before it was ever published by the Mail on Sunday.

The Duchess of Sussex is suing the newspaper over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2008 after it published excerpts from the letter earlier this year. 

RELATED VIDEO: Duchess Meghan is suing a British tabloid [Provided by Harper's Bazaar]

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However, now, as The Mirror journalist Christopher Bucktin reports: "She is facing claims she invaded her own privacy after her US friends provided details of the letter's contents to an American celeb magazine.

"Pals of the royal spoke to a journalist from People after Meghan had reportedly sanctioned the move. She could now be forced to swear on oath whether she did."

The royal's friends gave an anonymous interview to the magazine back in February, where one of them was quoted saying: "After the wedding, she wrote him a letter.

"She's like, 'Dad. I'm so heartbroken. I love you, I have one father. Please stop victimizing me through the media so we can repair our relationship.'"

a man smiling for the camera: 
  
    Read more: 
    Prince
  Harry says Meghan Markle is taking legal action against British
  tabloids: 'I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling
  victim to the same powerful forces'
  
© https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idIy7Tuw54o

Read more: Prince Harry says Meghan Markle is taking legal action against British tabloids: 'I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces'

The duchess' father, Thomas Markle, said he wouldn't have released the letter "had it not been for the People magazine piece which meant I had to release portions to defend myself."

Dr. Paul Wragg, Associate Professor at the University of Leeds School of Law, told InStyle that Markle's reported involvement in the People interview could make the case more complicated.

"I mean, this doesn't seal it in favor of the press, but it might weaken her claim if she has, in fact, disclosed this information to other people, disclose the letter to other people, by putting it out there into the public domain," he said.

However, legal expert Amber Melville-Brown told Insider that even if Markle admits to allowing the contents of the letter to be discussed publicly, she can argue that "any earlier limited disclosure was necessary in the public interest to prevent the public from being misled."

"And that only by referring to the fact and the tone, even some of the content, of the letter, could the public be disabused of the false impression given that here was a cold-hearted daughter refusing to engage with her estranged father," said Melville-Brown, Global Head of Media and Reputation at Withers Law Firm.

She added, however, that the newspaper will put forward the same argument for its actions.

"In response to that argument, the paper will likely argue that the letter was not a 'Dear Daddy' conciliatory olive branch, and accordingly, that there is a public interest justification in exposing what they allege to be the true nature and content of the letter - again to prevent the public from being misled."

Nonetheless, lawyer Michael Sweeney says that public interest won't hold up as a defense in court.

"Associated Newspapers has been presented with numerous legal claims including two in relation to breach of privacy and copyright infringement," Sweeney, Senior Legal Counsel at Incopro, told Insider, referring to Daily Mail parent company DMG Media, formerly Associated Newspapers. 

"Debate rages in some camps around whether Meghan Markle has 'infringed her own privacy' by apparently discussing it with friends prior to publication.

"The letter enjoys copyright protection as a literary work under English copyright law. In reproducing it without consent or license, Associated Newspapers has prima facie infringed those rights, subject to the availability of any defenses, including that of public interest."

He added: "It will be interesting to see whether the prince has an appetite for protracted litigation or whether the parties work together to secure an early settlement."


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