Meghan Markle: Royal expert gives court case update
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over five articles published in February which reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018. Meghan – who quit royal duties with Prince Harry last March and is now living in America – is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
At a remote High Court hearing which started yesterday, the former actress’s lawyers are applying for “summary judgment” of her claim for misuse of private information and alleged breach of copyright – a legal step which would see those parts of the case resolved without a trial.
The full trial was due to be heard this month, but last year the case was adjourned until autumn 2021 for a “confidential” reason.
On Tuesday, Meghan’s estranged father told the High Court that her letter “signalled the end of our relationship”.
In a witness statement filed by ANL’s lawyers for the hearing, Mr Markle insisted the suggestion by a “longtime friend” of his daughter in People magazine that she sent the letter to “repair our relationship” was false.
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And he claimed she showed no concern for his health, despite him suffering a heart attack.
He said: “The letter didn’t say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health.”
Justin Rushbrooke QC, representing Meghan, described the hand-written letter as “a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father”.
He said the “contents and character of the letter were intrinsically private, personal and sensitive in nature” and that Meghan therefore “had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the contents of the letter”.
ANL’s barrister Antony White QC earlier argued that Meghan’s admission she had “a fear” that her letter to her father might be intercepted showed that “she must, at the very least, have appreciated that her father might choose to disclose it”.
The hearing before Mr Justice Warby is due to last two days and it is expected he will reserve his judgment to a later date.
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12.15pm update: Prince Charles told to ‘lance Prince Andrew boil’
Prince Charles has been told he “can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room” that Prince Andrew and his scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein has become for the Royal Family.
The Duke of York has been branded a “boil on the backside of the Royal Family” by furious royal commentators.
This comes after it was reported that aides to Andrew and his former wife Sarah Ferguson contacted a woman said to be an internet troll, in an apparent effort to discredit his accuser in the Jeffrey Epstein case.
Charlie Rae, the former Royal Editor of The Sun, spoke to talkRADIO’s Mike Graham about the challenge that this presented for heir to the throne Charles.
11.35am update: Should Queen cull minor royals after ‘freeloading’ claim? POLL
A royal expert has claimed too many members of the Royal Family are “freeloading”, demanding the Queen carry out a “great trimming down” – but do you think the monarch should cut numbers?
Vote in our poll on whether the monarch should cull minor royals following the explosive claim.
Our poll comes as Clive Irving, author of new book The Last Queen, told Today Extra: “While the whole opera of the Royal Family is a great attraction, it’s outlived its time in terms of it’s grander purpose.
“Lots of members of the Royal Family are freeloading off the idea of the Royal Family.
“What will have to happen eventually and maybe not too far away is a great trimming down of it.”
10.50am update: Meghan and Kate set for tense reunion as feuding brothers come face-to-face
Meghan Markle and Kate are set to reunite this summer – as a royal expert warns the relationship between their husbands may have changed forever.
On July 1, a statue of Princess Diana will be unveiled at Kensington Palace, four years after its conception was first announced.
Meghan and Prince Harry intend to travel across the pond to attend this important event, royal author Katie Nicholl said.
This ceremony, the expert noted, could be the first time in more than a year the Sussexes and the Cambridges are seen together.
10am update: Sophie Wessex sent birthday message from the Queen
The Countess of Wessex has been wished a happy birthday by the Queen this morning.
The Queen sent the message to Sophie via her official The Royal Family Twitter account, which is regularly used to share news and information about royals whose households don’t have a dedicated social media account.
And on special days such as this one, it is used to share royal birthday wishes.
The tweet said: “Wishing The Countess of Wessex a very happy birthday today!”
9.25am update: Sophie Wessex celebrates birthday in lockdown
The Countess of Wessex turns 56 today but the royal favourite will be unable to mark her birthday in any significant way due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.
Sophie is celebrating her birthday on January 20 during England’s third lockdown.
While the royal may have hoped to mark the milestone with friends and wider a family, a larger celebration will not be able to take place until Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.
8.40am update: William and Charles see major staff shakeup as senior aides quit
Senior royal aides to Prince Charles and Prince William have stepped down from their roles within days of each other, sparking a major overhaul in the Royal Family.
The Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary Christian Jones will leave his position to become a partner at private equity firm Bridgepoint.
The Prince of Wales’ communications secretary Julian Payne will also leave his role to become Chair of Corporate Affairs EMEA for global public relations firm Edelman.
8am update: Harry and William warned to avoid ‘palace civil war’ amid Royal Family rift
Prince Harry and Prince William are at risk of making the same “toxic” mistake as their late mother Princess Diana in the “palace civil war”, according to a royal commentator.
Daniela Elser, an Australian journalist and royal commentator, said the Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge could be going down a dangerous path.
In a recent column, the royal expert said she hopes Harry and William will stop fighting a war through the media as their parents did in the 1990s.
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