Meghan Markle 'being very clever' with brand says host
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The book – written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand – focussed on the married lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and was published in August last year. Finding Freedom goes into detail about their relationship, royal household and personal lives.
Harry and Meghan have both denied having any involvement in the biography, saying its authors do not speak on their behalf.
The Duchess of Sussex has launched legal proceedings against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) for copyright infringement over what she claims was a private letter written to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
In September last year, ANL argued the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had “co-operated with the authors of the recently published book Finding Freedom to put out their version of certain events”.
Now, Meghan and Harry’s former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, submitted a witness statement to the Court of Appeal.
In the statement, Mr Knauf said Harry and Meghan “authorised specific cooperation in writing in December 2018”.
Mr Knauf said “the book was discussed directly with the Duchess multiple times in person and over email.”
He claimed Meghan gave the authors of the book “helpful” written “background reminders” and briefing notes “for when you sit down with them”.
He said in an email submitted in evidence: “The Duchess…added the briefing points she wanted me to share with the authors in my meeting with them.”
The former communications secretary said these notes included things about her father, her half-siblings, “her perspective” on Harry’s 2016 statement about her treatment on social media.
Mr Knauf also claimed Harry gave written pointers for the authors.
In an email sent in 2018, Harry wrote: “I totally agree we have to be able to say we didn’t have anything to do with it.
“Equally, you giving the right context and background to them would help get some truths out there…especially around Markle/wedding stuff…”
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Mr Knauf’s witness statement in the Court of Appeal was supported with text messages and email exchanges, the Sunday Times reported.
Roya Nikkhah, Royal editor at the Sunday Times, tweeted: “Knauf also says Meghan told him in texts that she ‘obviously’ wrote her August 2018 letter to her father ‘with the understanding that it could be leaked’ to the media so she was ‘meticulous’ in her choice of words, calling him ‘Daddy’ to ‘pull at the heartstrings’ if it leaked.”
This comes after Meghan and Harry have continued to deny any involvement in the book.
In her statement, Meghan said: “It is untrue that my husband and I (or either of us) spoke to the authors for the purposes of the Book.
“Nor did we meet with them ‘in about late 2018’, far less did we do so at any time to discuss ‘the ways in which [we] would cooperate in the writing of the Book’.
“Mr Knauf responded to say that he was against the idea, essentially because he did not expect the Book to be hostile towards us and he did not want to offend the authors.
“While I did not agree with nor understand Mr Knauf’s perspective, I took his direction and did not send the pro-active email to my friends despite wanting to.”
Mr Knauf was Harry’s communications secretary for four years from February 2015 and Meghan’s from after their marriage.
He still works for Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, at Kensington Palace.
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