Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Meghan Markle issued dire warning: ‘Do not attend court case in person’

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The Duchess of Sussex is suing the publisher after the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline published a letter she wrote to her father, which she claims breached her privacy and copyright. Associated Newspapers’ legal team claims Meghan breached her own privacy by allowing five friends to speak to People Magazine several months before the letter was published. However, Meghan insists she did not know her friends would speak to the outlet.

In the latest round of court filings, Meghan’s team said she felt “unprotected” by the Royal Family, who insisted she should not respond to allegations made about her in the press.

They added that the Duchess’ friends shared her “frustration” about this.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk that the Royal Family’s “never complain, never explain” mantra is often what is best for them.

He added that royals should try to avoid court cases and if they must pursue it, they should try not to appear in person.

He said: “Unfortunately, in the royal goldfish bowl, it simply isn’t possible to control your coverage.

“And, as she may well discover in her cases against the Mail on Sunday, it is only under the most extreme circumstances that royals should go to court and they should arrange things so that they do not appear in person.”

So far, the court case has been running virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the main chunk of the trial is still yet to come, and royal commentators like the Daily Mirror’s Russell Myers anticipate it to be “explosive”.

Mr Fitzwilliams added: “There are times when the unwritten rule of ‘never complain, never explain’ is the only safe course.

“Meghan felt she was let down by the lack of response to articles she regarded as critical of her.

“This was the only possible course, nothing would be more calculated to encourage those seeking sensation than a royal response.”

These comments come after it was revealed a new biography of Prince Harry and Meghan may be used in the case.

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Released on Tuesday, ‘Finding Freedom’ contains accounts of events in such great detail that many believe Harry and Meghan must have had a direct input.

Indeed, notes written by authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand read: “We have spoken with close friends of Harry and Meghan, royal aides and palace staff (past and present), the charities and organisations they have built long-lasting relationships with and, where appropriate, the couple themselves.”

However, the Duke and Duchess have denied contributing to the book in any way.

A spokesperson for the couple said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.

“The book is based on the authors’ own experience as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”

Mr Scobie and Ms Durand also claim they have spoken to 100 sources, leading many to claim that Meghan and Harry must have, at least, allowed their friends to speak to the authors.

There has also been speculation that Prince William and Kate Middleton may respond to claims made in the book.

However, Mr Fitzwilliams insisted this was unlikely.

He said: “Buckingham Palace has not commented on any of the revelations in the extracts published so far from Finding Freedom.

“This is to be expected and is absolutely the right course to take.

“I can say with certainty that William and Kate are unlikely to ever respond to anything in the book.”

Meghan lost the first legal battle in the High Court and will pay £67,000 in legal fees, after the judge struck out allegations that the publisher deliberately “stirred up” issues between Meghan and her father, and that it had an “agenda” of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about her.

However, she later won the battle to keep the five friends who spoke to People Magazine anonymous.

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