The Duchess of Sussex loves to portray herself as a victim of the powerful press. Yesterday she would have delighted many of her less critical fans by putting it on like never before.
After her latest appeals court victory in her battle against The Mail on Sunday, Meghan announced that in “nearly three years” since she began the civil lawsuit, she has been “patient in the face of deception, intimidation and calculated attacks”. “.
She did not, of course, specify where, when, and how these horrific attacks occurred.
If she is referring to what happened in court, then her statements are another example of her excessive imagination.
Meghan launched a civil lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday after it published extracts from a long letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, who is believed to have been wrongly portrayed by her friends in an article published by the American magazine People.
Most people would probably see Meghan and Harry in their crusade against the press as largely self-serving. They only seek favorable coverage and want their actions not to be scrutinized or criticized
Those of us who are not familiar with the obscure workings of English law might assume that the newspaper will be given a chance to defend itself in a trial in which witnesses are called and documents are presented.
But this did not happen. There was no such trial because Megan did not want it. I sought – and got twice, and the second occasion yesterday – the so-called summary judgment. This is a rare, if not unprecedented, measure in the privacy case.
Three educated judges of the Court of Appeal, led by Mr Rawls, no less, decided that there was no need for a trial. In fact, they have decided, without hearing the evidence, that Meghan Markle is right and the newspaper is wrong.
I have a few questions. If it was Meghan Markle of 2, Acacia Street, rather than HRH The Duchess of Sussex, were these same judges tolerant of her, depriving the newspaper of a chance to defend itself?
Or are they moved by the fact that, despite her estrangement from the royal family, which she has criticized and contested, she nevertheless remains part of the royal structure, and therefore must be kept out of any court of law at any cost?
And can these educated judges, either consciously or unconsciously, display a bias against the tabloid press and in favor of celebrities who are jealously guarding every aspect of their privacy while seeking the best media coverage possible?
I ask these questions because during a three-day appeals court hearing earlier this month, testimony was given that undermined Meghan Markle’s credibility as a witness.
The Duchess of Sussex has been forced to apologize to the court for failing to remember she asked a royal aide to brief the authors of a biography Finding Freedom, which was almost an embarrassment to her and Prince Harry.
The Duchess of Sussex has been forced to apologize to the court for failing to remember she asked a royal aide to brief the authors of a biography of Finding Freedom, which was almost an embarrassment to her and Prince Harry.
She had previously insisted through her attorney that neither she nor her husband were cooperating with the authors of this streaming book, and if the staff had done so, it was without her knowledge.
However, according to Jason Knauf – her communications secretary, now on Prince William’s staff – there were “multiple” discussions and email exchanges about the book between its authors and Megan, and between Knauf and its authors. These last communications have been approved by Megan.
How on earth could you “forget” that? A beggar of faith. One could cast out of one’s mind one exchange, perhaps two, but it was simply inconceivable that he had forgotten a whole series of them.
Lying is a cursed word and I may not use it. I will agree to ‘false’, not to insist on ‘intentional’. But the definition was invalid, and he conceded that if Meghan Markle of 2, Acacia Avenue had been guilty of such a misdemeanor, the judges might have taken a grim view.
However, in the case of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, the three Court of Appeal judges were strikingly forgiving. There may have been an unfortunate ‘memorial slip’ (is that what she calls it?) but in any case it had no bearing on whether the private letter to her father should have been published.
I would say – and I think most reasonable people would – that her misleading testimony calls into question her credibility. Had I been a judge, I would have wanted to test Meghan Markle’s credibility in the context of witness cross-examination.
I would also, for the sake of justice, share documents and allow witnesses to tell their side of the story. This, I repeat, was not allowed to happen.
Unfortunately, the mentioned Jason Knauf did not give a statement in the previous session. Three former palace officials – members of the so-called Fourth Palace – may also be willing to give evidence. However, this was not heard, and may never be.
Who knows what as-yet-unreleased documents might reveal whether Meghan and her lawyers will have to cough before trial?
And then, of course, there’s Thomas Markle, who wanted to make his daughter’s message public and had to put up with hateful and untrue allegations about him in People magazine. Isn’t he allowed to have an opinion?
Imagine what that famous and fairest judge, Lord Denning, would have done in such a situation. Would he not have felt that natural justice required that the voices of both sides in such a dispute be heard?
Certainly, if a newspaper is accused the way Meghan Markle accused The Mail on Sunday, justice demands that she be allowed to defend herself and be justified at trial. Let a properly formed court make its decision on the evidence.
Nor is The Mail on Sunday’s good name on the line. Meghan Markle is trying to discredit the entire tabloid press, and possibly the entire press, in a wholesale attack.
Consider what she said yesterday when she tried to portray herself as a victim of media persecution. The courts have held the defendant accountable and I hope we can all start doing the same. Because it may seem far from your personal life, it isn’t. Tomorrow it could be you.
In a more lopsided context, she hopes, “we are now collectively brave enough to reshape the tabloid industry that makes people cruel, and to profit from the lies and pain they create.”
Of course, newspapers are sometimes guilty of excesses, but the idea that they act against the interests of ordinary people – which this very distinguished millionaire duchess is suggesting – is ridiculous.
Most people would probably see Meghan and Harry in their crusade against the press as largely self-serving. They only seek favorable coverage and want their actions not to be scrutinized or criticized.
But I’m afraid there will be fans of the couple who will unthinkingly accept their portrayal of the press as malicious and destructive. Meghan and Harry are at war to sway public opinion, and their grim goal is to neutralize the press.
This is an attack on freedom of the press in which wild and destructive allegations are made by Sussex without evidence being presented. English judges are depriving The Mail on Sunday of the opportunity to defend itself.
If Megan really wants to fight for the truth, she will come to court. And in what is supposed to be the land of liberty, judges who are not intimidated by kings and love a free press will allow a proper trial.