The Mail: Duchess Meghan had help from staff with the letter to her toxic father

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The Daily Mail refuses to dial down the crazy. Especially when it comes to “defending” themselves from the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit. The Mail published parts of Meghan’s 2018 letter to her father, and instead of just offering an out-of-court settlement and an apology, the Mail is going full-tilt crazy and lobbing all of these bonkers accusations at Meghan regarding her communications, her friends, and more. The latest salvo: the Mail claims they had a right to publish Meghan’s letter to her father because… Meghan had help from Kensington Palace’s communications team in writing the letter. What the what.

Kensington Palace aides helped the Duchess of Sussex write an apparently ‘private’ letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle, court documents claimed today. Meghan Markle is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over an article which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to Mr Markle, 76, in August 2018.

The duchess has claimed the Mail On Sunday publisher breached data protection and copyright laws by revealing extracts from the ‘private and confidential’ letter. But lawyers for ANL have claimed in documents filed at the High Court in London that the letter was not the ‘own intellectual creation’ of the 39-year-old royal. They argue that the Kensington Palace communications team ‘contributed to the writing’ of an electronic draft, which the letter was later ‘copied’ from.

The documents state: ‘It is for the claimant (Meghan) to prove she was the only person who contributed to the writing of the electronic draft. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the defendant (ANL) infers that Jason Knauf and/or others in the Kensington Palace communications team contributed to the writing of the electronic draft. Precisely which parts were the result of such contribution is uniquely known to the Claimant, Jason Knauf and others in the team.’

It comes after it emerged the duchess’s privacy action against ANL will not be heard until autumn next year after being postponed last month for a ‘confidential reason’.

Mr Justice Warby agreed on October 29 to adjourn the trial – which was due to start on January 11 next year – until the autumn following an earlier private hearing. The judge said the private hearing was necessary to protect ‘the confidentiality of the information relied on’ by Meghan in her application to postpone the trial.

The confidential information was said by the judge to be the ‘primary’ reason for the duchess wanting the trial to be adjourned – and ANL did not oppose her application. However, ANL’s lawyers did ask the judge to consider Mr Markle’s situation, saying he is ‘elderly and sick’ and wants and intends to give evidence at trial.

[From The Daily Mail]

The Mail’s lawyers are introducing a theory that staff “helped” Meghan write the letter, and then the Mail writes a story like this theory has some kind of factual evidence to back it up. Is… is Jason Knauf going to testify on behalf of the Mail? Is he going to stand up in court and say that he and a crack team of Kensington Palace sycophants drafted a letter on a laptop and Meghan merely copied that letter in her own handwriting? Yeah… that seems very strange. Knauf currently works for the Cambridge’s Royal Foundation, but he is still involved in Will and Kate’s offices, in general. While I don’t doubt that it’s the official position of Kensington Palace that Meghan should lose her lawsuit, I also just think that KP will never allow the situation to get that far, where Jason Knauf would testify in court against the Duchess of Sussex.

Plus, I just don’t believe it. I think Meghan probably discussed some of her issues with her father with the KP team, but the letter seems like something she did on her own. Anyway, the stories about the lawsuit are just getting so f–king strange.

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60 Responses to “The Mail: Duchess Meghan had help from staff with the letter to her toxic father”

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  1. Sofia says:

    What? You mean to tell me that KP aides helped with the letter but said nothing when the letter was released, said nothing when the lawsuit was announced but suddenly the Mail thinks they could have helped with the letter and they’re announcing this 1+ year after the lawsuit has been announced?

    I agree that there’s no way Knauf and other KP staffers are going to go up in court and give a statement. Wouldn’t be surprised if the DM were told to “quietly” stop pushing for this by the palace.

    • Myra says:

      Personally, I would love to see a member of staff in court. Finally, a name and face to the ‘my palace source’, as well as undeniable confirmation of KP’s role in this saga. I hope this will set a precedence for palace staff to break their NDAs in future.

      Whether or not Meghan asked a press officer to assist her is besides the point, she still owns the letter. She never published it and she never gave her consent for it to be published. However, I refuse to believe that this press officer would not have ran to The Sun/Dan Wootton with this story all this time.

    • L8 says:

      This filing is to fight against an award of summary judgement–requires no possible defense. The Mail wants a big messy trial that they can spin into articles and page views. They don’t care if they win or lose.

      I firmly believe that this latest filing has no merit. KP probably had sight of the letter before it went out, but I doubt that they contributed to it. They might have even asked Meghan to write the letter in the first place to get Thomas to stay out of the press. But KP is not on Meghan’s side. Any evidence coming from there would likely be twisted against Meghan and in favor of the Mail.

    • I’d say The Daily Mail has William by the balls and are now using some of that leverage to get KP staff to lie about this issue. The London Times (same owner as TDM) also had this same vicious article. I can’t imagine Meghan —- highly educated, extremely articulate and intelligent, and in her late 30s needing any help in writing her daddy a letter. I say, show some receipts. Who is or are the staff? Identify them, so the other side can depose them. Where’s the staff deposition? Where’s the computer draft? Not buying it one bit. Still, I do not think the Firm can allow Meghan to have a successful outcome in this trial. I think they are working like beavers behind the scenes to do everything they can to see she looses this case and I’m including pulling legal strings with judge behind the scene. I do not think Meghan will get a fair trial.

  2. Flamingo says:

    I think that KP will allow Jason to testify if he had anything to do with it. They will want to show that they did the right thing, in their minds, in their treatment of Meghan and Harry. Meghan losing her lawsuit would be a way for them to change the narrative from Meghan and Harry were treated like garbage to Meghan is manipulative and we have a lawsuit to prove it. They’ve proven time and again that they aren’t afraid to use people as sacrificial lambs, and if they think they can spin this into some positive PR, they will.

  3. Becks1 says:

    The letter definitely is from Meghan, I think we can all tell her writing style by now. Maybe she did ask KP for advice and they looked over the final draft or something, but that doesn’t mean it belongs to KP.

    This just seems like such a sketchy defense – the only way to prove that someone other than Meghan wrote it is to ask them, and getting Jason Knauf on the stand seems like a REALLY bad idea for KP.

    • CC says:

      Exactly. The palace staff had been micromanaging her (or at least trying to), it’s not a surprise that Meghan told them she wants to write a letter to her father and they told her to hold up and they need to review it for legal purposes. This wouldn’t be strange.

      Meghan is also a calligraphy geek. It’s not weird that she typed out a draft, and then wrote it down by pen. We already saw the handwriting!

      Unfortunately, it’s these details that could actually harm her case, although I don’t understand how that justifies what they did. Even if an audio clip gets leaked and it has Meghan saying that she hope the letter gets leaked…wouldn’t they have to prove that they knew this before doing so? Not sure how this works

  4. Mignionette says:

    I think Meghan wrote the letter herself but notified them that she was doing it and potentially they had a look at it, given how sensitive things had become with the Markles.

    Also for anyone who may remember Toxic Tom and TOD at that point were constantly on TV or in the papers imploring Meg to ‘contact Dad’ so they would have wanted to ensure that there were no usable missiles in the letter. That I presume would be standard ‘protocol’ with all new family members and especially ones with a sensitive family situation like Meghan.

    The Mail are introducing this element I suspect to try and infer that the Palace helped her write the letter as they were aware that Tom could not be trusted and in doing so they were aware the letter would not stay private. It;’s a weak defence bc it’s not Meg’s job to ensure that TT not break the law and by extension him breaking the law does not exonerate them. Regardless of TT breaching Meg;s privacy, they actually published the letter and they did so in the DM which has a huge audience (as they tell their advertisers themselves). And the size of audience is key as it speaks to the level of dissemination and therefore quantifiable harm caused. The proximity of the DM to Toxic Tom at the time (easily verifiable) also speaks to malice on the part of the DM. They hunted him down and exploited a delicate family situation for commercial gain. Not only does Meghan meet all the elements for her claim, there is an element that it’s actually enhanced by the MoS’s malicious acts in the run up to publishing the letters, They also chose the MoS for the dissemination for the audience and ratings. They knew what they were doing and with flagrant disregard for the law. There are no defences, they;’re now just milking the case for commercial value, clicks and revenue.

    So essentially I think this is a pointless element. Just because you discuss the elements of murder with someone does not mean that you;re imploring them to go on to commit a murder.

    • Yvette says:

      @Mignionette … I think they’re trying to say that if Meghan had help writing the letter then the copyright isn’t exclusively hers and she therefore has no case.

  5. Snuffles says:

    Sure, put Knauf on the stand and give the Sussex’s lawyers the opportunity to grill him and get him to admit that KP constantly leaked information to the press in an effort to smear them.

    • Amy Bee says:

      Which is why I don’t believe he will take the stand.

      • Oh_Hey says:

        This. The men in grey would love to have him go up there and say he knew about this letter but any lawyer with a pulse would rip him to shreds about leaks and the palaces’ we can’t deny the truth unless it’s Kate policy. It would be the stupidest move unless the judge somehow disallowed a cross examination which I don’t think is legal.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Whatever, Daily Mail you’re still guilty of copyright infringement. One question, has it been previously stated that KP knew about the letter?

  7. Harper says:

    A Northwestern University grad needs help to write a personal letter to her own dad? This is creative fiction 101. But let’s say it’s true, then I think the Fail is required to get permission from Knauf to reprint as well, which they didn’t do either. Losers.

    • Jegede says:

      TBF, Meghan might have asked for their template in recognition of her then new position as Duchess of Sussex.

      She may have wanted to be sure that by asking for their help, she couldn’t be accused of going rogue, to embarrass the family.

  8. Flamingo says:

    I forgot to add, I don’t practice in the UK and I don’t practice this type of law, but it is not that unusual to change your defense strategy months into the process. It is possible that someone who has been deposed said something that lead them to believe that Jason and crew were involved. Not up on the UK legal process or if they do pretrial depositions, but I can’t tell you how many times when I was in corporate law, that a tidbit of information in a deposition would change up my strategy.

  9. Ladybug says:

    Even if she got help from KP it , she still wrote it herself. I don’t get why it wouldn’t be her copyright.

    • MissMarierose says:

      The Daily Mail isn’t using this as a defense to the copyright claim.
      Meghan made two claims against the paper. (1) Violation of copyright and (2) violation of the right to privacy.
      Only the copyright claim is cut and dried.
      All this litigation is about the second claim; the defense is trying to say that the letter was not a private letter because, allegedly, her staff helped write it and (w/r/t the Finding Freedom stuff), she leaks personal information herself. Whether those claims are true or not, the paper is asserting it to keep the case going and not get it thrown out on summary judgment.

  10. Blue36 says:

    I don’t understand this? Are they saying KP coauthored the letter? If so doesn’t that mean they also had to get KP’s permission to print it and so they gave the fail permission to print it without Meghan’s consent?

  11. GuestWho says:

    Helped her write it, or helped get her a Fed Ex envelope prepared? I don’t buy that she’s, even at that early point, sharing her deepest, most gut wrenching, feelings with the KP staff.

  12. ABritGuest says:

    Meghan said in her court papers in July that she had informed her solicitor, KP comms team, a friend, Harry and doria about the letter. She kept a copy of the letter so I’m assuming KP aide helped with the electronic version. This is not new information.

    Its interesting Fail said something like it was Meghan’s heartbreaking words when they published the letter last February and that the idea it wasn’t has been added to Fail’s defence since they got this info. Before their defence was mainly around her handwriting being so neat she clearly wanted it to be published.

    Jason is probably one of their witnesses. No wonder the RF wanted this case dropped. I remember Thomas saying that he couldn’t believe it was his daughter being so mean to him so can see where some of this defence comes from.

  13. HeatherC says:

    Next they’ll claim that the KP staff all contributed to the “confidential reason” for the delay until autumn. Hard eye roll.

  14. Snuffles says:

    Their next defense is that Kensington Palace provided the pen, paper, envelope and paid for the postage to mail it, therefore they are part owner of the copyright and gave the DM permission to print it.

    • Wowgust says:

      You’re right. No problem if Meghan used the help of KP staff, it’s still her letter to her father.
      It seems prince Baldy and duchess of do-little are ready to go all in if KP staff start speaking.

      • HeatherC says:

        Next they’ll claim Cain and Cannot contributed a punctuation mark, and revise the engagement numbers for that year to get credit for “work.” Yes I am that cynical.

  15. Osty says:

    They had that argument and didn’t use it all these months or was the person in coma and just woke up ?😂😂😂😂 They are so pathetic and desperate its funny to watch .
    Also if the pple in kp are really wise ( which I doubt) they will not publicly support the tabloids against family (Yes we know they do but it’s done secretly ). Cos if they do publicly it will be bad PR for them , the price they will pay will be far worse than what the fail is offering

    • Lorri says:

      But look at Flamingo’s comments. This is how it works. As Flamingo said, it’s not unusual to change a defense strategy when new evidence comes into play. Clearly the DM has learned some facts they didn’t know about previously.

  16. Lily P says:

    Best decision H and M made was to escape the vindictive British Media and BRF.

    The lack of development the BRF have made in treating people with dignity and respect will be their downfall. I (25 year old Brit) cannot see a way for the monarchy to last beyond HRH

  17. Lizzie says:

    I think Meghans lawyers should refer to every article the DM published about her and demand to depose every ‘source’. Start fighting fire with fire. Th DM seems to bring in everything but the kitchen sink and so should she.

    • Tealie says:

      I agree I acc don’t know why she hasn’t done it already, that would’ve been my first suit, but that’s just me

      • CC says:

        Suits like that are hard to win, and the courts won’t ask to reveal anonymous sources unless it’s absolutely important. This is because it can affect one’s employment, safety etc, as well as it keeps the doors open for whistleblowers.

        Any decent journalist wouldn’t resort to anonymous sources for petty gossip and will only bring it up for serious matters in order to retain credibility but this is the BM we are talking about

  18. equality says:

    According to my on-line research: “If an employee creates a work within scope of her employment, the employer owns the copyright. A “work made for hire” agreement is not needed with an employer.” That would mean Meghan would still own the copyright even if her employee created the entire letter. Or is the contention that somebody else in the family employed this guy and so could give permission to publish?

    • Mignionette says:

      This is a private letter written in a private capacity so those rules don’t apply.

    • candykat says:

      I’m no lawyer, but I think the Mail is floating the balloon that it’s not a private letter because (they claim) it was written jointly by several employees of the Firm, including Meghan herself. In that case, if true, I guess there’s an argument that the Firm owns the copyright, or at the very least that it was not a private letter written in a private capacity.

      I think it’s BS, of course. The wording, essentially “We think Jason helped write the letter and we have no idea which parts he may have helped with but that doesn’t matter and you have to prove that he didn’t, nyah nyah” is patently ridiculous.

      • Mignionette says:

        See my comment above about this.

        It doesn’t matter if she got someone in her employ to edit, read or look at it (after all people seek advice from Lawyers, partners and friends all the time and that doesn’t break the privilege of the communication provided that person, group or class of people is limited in number for the sole purpose of advice and not for say a commercial purpose). It is reasonable that as human beings we consult those around us and given that Jason is a Private Sec, it is reasonable that he does not break the confidentiality agreements and restrictive covenants of his employment, especially as a member of the Royal household.

        Also isn’t this precisely the reason Courtiers like Jason are employed ?

        More importantly, it would be encumberment on the MoS to prove that she had assistance and I do not see how they could possibly do that without getting into some serious hot water. Are they really going to say Jason broke the privacy of his employer? A Courtier of the Royal household? Can you imagine the scandal that would flow from that ? They need to have a concrete basis to make that assertion as you can’t just pull sh*t outta yer arse when it suits.

        Further lets assume for a second that the Mos do somehow manage to show foul play and that a courtier leaked that tidbit to the MoS, someone is going to have to come clean to avoid perjuring themselves. Also the MoS would have played an own goal bc they did not verify that they were actually entitled to print the letter from the copyright holder herself. These newspapers are not just naive hustlers fighting in the streets, they have legal teams and past experience that would have told them ‘NO WAY, leave that sh*t alone’. After all as a newspaper wouldn’t checking/ verifying your source and the legality of printing information from that source the first thing you would do ?

        At the very least the MoS are negligent here, but personally I feel there is an argument for more aggravated behaviour given how they pursued Toxic Tom. The whole point of the letter was humiliation so that tends to show they knew they were breaking copyright but didn’t care. I personally think that they’ve always known they couldn’t win but took a calculated risk anyway and in doing their sums have calculated the entertainment value and money to be made from printing it and dragging out stories from this case,

        Basically I think this is a fishing expedition, and that speaks to the strength of the MoS case. They are throwing anything out to see what sticks i.e. Finding Freedom and now co-writers. That tells me they have zero case and are just trying to wear Meghan down with side issues. It’s a common David and Goliath Litigation tactic. MoS and DM are huge and they will just see how long they can keep this going until Meghan say get’s pregnant and doesn’t want the stress.

        Any decent judge would recognise that and put their foot down. I don’t really see how this strategy is helping the MoS, except to provide them with more bullshit to print and make money from. That seems to be the main strategy here. They know this is their last hurrah now that H&M have shipped off across the Atlantic. So sadly in a way they are commoditising Meghan AGAIN.

        The Courts do not like being used to harass people, although those rules are relaxed a little more for public figures bc of the public interest argument. Still this latest angle is shady as hell and I hope that Meg wins an amount so HUGE and the MoS are punished via the backdoor never to do that again. Let them have something else to cry about aside the Netflix deal.

  19. Wowgust says:

    Oh, see what’s in the CC.

    The Duchess of Cambridge, Joint Patron of the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, this morning held a Meeting with Mr Jason Knauf (Chief Executive) via video link

    OH GOSH SO UNPREDICTABLE MY GOD

    • Becks1 says:

      HOW do all these meetings count?? Isnt that just what she is supposed to do?

      • Nic919 says:

        If you look at entries for Anne or Charles they don’t include meetings with personal staff. They need to stretch Kate’s numbers because she does so damn little. William is almost as bad

      • Wowgust says:

        Yes, Nic919, you’re right. Today is November, 17 and according to CC duchess of keenbridge had 5 (five) engagements from November, 1. 3 of it are meetings. Two of those meetings are w/ mr. Jason Knauf.(Nov. 6; Nov. 13).

        She is not only lazy but also very stupid. If the court will come to cross examination, Mr. Knauf may suddenly tell about the topic of those “meetings” – I am pretty sure Copycat or PWT asked him a little help with Meg’s suit. Such a stupid FFQC.

  20. lanne says:

    I think the ultimate goal of the Fail is to milk this story for all its worth–that’s the only purpose of their defense. That’s unfortunately, how Meghan played right into their hands by filing suit. They don’t care about anything other than generating stories, and this lawsuit is a means for them to generate more clickbait stories about Meghan, no matter how crazy. I think she was right to file even so–had she not filed the lawsuit, the tabloids wouldn’t be coming for her any differently than they are now. There’s no escape from it. Harry is in the horrible position of spare, meaning he has nothing to do but exist, and avoiding upstaging his brother. The wife of a spare is a perfect target, especially if she’s biracial, American, and divorced. Even winning the lawsuit won’t change this–and the RF better hope she wins. If she loses, then that sets a dangerous precendent for them. It will be open season on all royal correspondance. Get ready for William to have his computers hacked and any gardening emails/texts he sends to be exposed. But Meghan really won’t be any worse for wear.

  21. Maliksmama says:

    Is this how the British legal system works? Parties have to prove each other’s cases? If MoS believes Meghan had help with the letter, why weren’t they required to provide supporting documents with their pleadings? Why were they allowed to just make claims with zero proof supporting their claims?

    • Nic919 says:

      There is something missing here because they should have plead this from the outset. Or if they found out later on they will need to produce evidence in their response to the summary judgment motion. I highly doubt they can prove anyone but Meghan wrote the letter though. This seems like media spin.

  22. Abena Asantewaa says:

    You don’t need to be Einstein, to know that the words, the sentiments and tone were all Meghan’s. Why would she need help from KP, to express her betrayal of her father. She may have informed them about the letter, so as not break any protocol, but that still , does not mean all and sundry have a right to that letter. It was addressed to Daddy and nobody else. DM, is just creating stories, to wear Meghan, down, but Meghan, will not bow down. She will win.

  23. ABritGuest says:

    I just had a thought on all the leaking the palace staff do. As well as confidentiality clauses in their employment contracts I’m sure they must be bound by the Official Secrets Act. So interesting again that whoever has been behind obvious big leaks like Sussexes Canada plan remains duly employed

    • Agree ABritGuest. I also find it interesting that since the Sussexes went to private self-paid security when they relocated to California, nothing is getting out about them anymore. So, even the British security must have been selling them down the river when they were staying in Canada. Now that they are not tied in any way to The Firm or the British government, all leaks have stopped.

      • Mignionette says:

        ^^^ Isn’t this why Diana refused Chuck’s security after divorce, she knew he would simply use the security to spy on her and continue to control her.

  24. LucyLee says:

    This is going to end up being a hot mess. Some branches of the Firm could end up being big losers in this because if the Daily Mail wins, the RF loses. Meghan returns to being a private citizen but they are still stuck with providing content for tabloids. Kiddie pics are not going to be enough.

  25. Valerie says:

    And this proves what? lol.

  26. aquarius64 says:

    I think KP has dirt on Bad Dad and I think that was in the redacted parts of the letter Meghan submitted to the Court. TT sent parts of the letter to the Fail leaving out the bad parts. It’s payback to the royals for keeping secrets like Bill testing positive for COVID and their useful idiot keeping secrets from them that could hurt the rag.

  27. RoyalBlue says:

    So I write a letter and the Fail publishes it without my permission and now I have to prove I wrote it? They are saying in summary, well even though you signed it here with your own signature, you had help. Prove you didn’t have help. Are they making a mockery of the legal process?

    • lanne says:

      they are punishing her for DARING to speak up, and also, they were likely hoping to bankrupt her by making frivolous claims. Jokes on them because a) Meghan can afford the lawsuit and b) ultimately, it’s the RF who loses if she loses. She’s a private citizen now. Losing the lawsuit would be a wonderful FU parting gift from Meghan to the RF, but those crackheads are too stupid to realize it.

      The DM has no access to her as a private citizen–there’s no one who can leak info about her from inside the palace. I imagine Meghan and Harry will be very careful with what they disclose to their family from now on–maybe even tell them some false info to find out exactly who leaks. When they arrive and leave the UK, they can do it quickly, stay in hotels under assumed names, and maintain their privacy. But the Cambridges will be there for the media to feast on forever.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        Yes. it feels punitive. they intend for this to be arduous for her and her team and they are coming at her from every possible angle because they don’t want the summary judgement. they want to humiliate her and put her on the stand against her double-crossing father.

        the law in this case does not support the aggrieved. it punishes them.

    • Nic919 says:

      I haven’t read the actual pleadings, but something like this being alleged now seems more like something they will lie about in the paper but not even mention in court.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        See from above, and tell me if I am misinterpreting the intent.

        “The documents state: ‘It is for the claimant (Meghan) to prove she was the only person who contributed to the writing of the electronic draft. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the defendant (ANL) infers that Jason Knauf and/or others in the Kensington Palace communications team contributed to the writing of the electronic draft. “

  28. Guest says:

    Is it okay for me to write this here? Has anyone seen the huge lipstickalley forum
    on Duchess Meghan. The unpopular opinion place? What a bitter bunch of racists they are and plenty jealous of everything Duchess Meghan has. Yuck. The envy drops from the screen when they discuss her shoes/clothes/accessories. Shame they’ll never be slim enough to fit into her outfits. My bad.

    • Mignionette says:

      LipstickAllley should be renamed ToxicAlley. They are horrible to all successful black women.

      LA back in the day was famous for baller jump-offs and groupies. They detest any self made women who are not dependent on men. They also really detest black / biracial women in IR relationships.

  29. Jay says:

    There is also a faint stench of “how could she have written a coherent letter all by herself – she must have had help!”. I see this sentiment often with prominent Black women (Even Michele Obama – there is a whole little toxic ecosystem of trolls who believe that she somehow is illiterate or stupid, anything to denigrate her accomplishments).

    I think they are just dragging it out as much as possible, making it as painful as possible and hoping she will capitulate.