text by Sam Greenhill, Daily Mail
The Duchess of Sussex felt she was ‘unprotected’ by the Royal Family while pregnant with Archie, she said yesterday.
Meghan revealed she was in such a ‘state’ that five of her closest friends resolved to speak out in support. The ‘special sisterhood’ feared so much for her mental health they gave a bombshell interview to the US magazine People, she disclosed.
The duchess made the claims yesterday in documents filed at the High Court in a battle against the Press over a letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. It came as Prince Harry apologised for being part of a generation that had not done enough to address racism.
Among extraordinary details in the legal papers:
* Meghan claimed her Windsor wedding in 2018 was a £1billion money-spinner for the UK;
* She admitted two of her friends
were told about her private letter to Mr Markle – but denied authorising them to speak publicly;
* The 38-year-old duchess said in 2018 she was a working royal who did not make money from other sources – but pointed out that several royals were allowed to ‘undertake paid work’, including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie;
* She unmasked her five ‘inner circle’ friends to the High Court;
* Meghan insisted she had taken ‘great steps’ to ensure her father attended the wedding including booking an LA hotel suite in the run-up;
* She claimed more than a dozen times she did not know her best friends had decided to break the ‘no comment’ rule about her.
Yesterday’s developments raised the stakes in the extraordinary High Court case dubbed ‘Markle vs Markle’, in which Meghan’s 75-year-old estranged father is prepared to give evidence against her.
She is suing the Mail on Sunday – the Daily Mail’s sister newspaper – for publishing extracts from a handwritten letter she sent to Mr Markle in August 2018, three months after he was unable to walk her down the aisle following a heart attack.
The Los Angeles-born former Suits actress claims the letter she sent him was private. The newspaper says Mr Markle revealed it only to correct the false impression that her friends had given about the letter when they gave their interviews to People.
Yesterday, in a document filed at the High Court ahead of a trial, Meghan insisted her friends had spoken to the magazine only because they were worried for her.
She claimed she had been the subject of numerous damaging and distressing articles but that Kensington Palace had mandated she could say nothing but ‘no comment’.
Her legal document stated yesterday: ‘As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.’
At the time – and before they quit as frontline royals in January – Meghan and Harry had a handpicked 15-strong team at Kensington Palace.
The five friends had decided to ‘help’ by giving interviews anonymously to People magazine, which has 35million readers worldwide.
In the bombshell February 2018 interview, the five, who were described by the magazine as ‘a special sisterhood’, lavished praise on Meghan. One of them – identified yesterday by Meghan as ‘Friend A’ – told the world about the letter she had posted to her father in October 2018.
Meghan named her five friends to the High Court in a schedule that was kept secret.
She identified Friend A as the one who had told People that the letter had said: ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship.’
Yesterday Meghan claimed this was an ‘unfortunately inaccurate’ portrayal of her letter, stressing numerous times that she had known nothing of her closest friends’ decision to go public.
The friends now face the prospect of being hauled to the High Court to testify on oath that this is true. One of Meghan’s closest friends, Canadian TV presenter Jessica Mulroney, has never commented on whether she was one of the magazine’s sources.
The duchess also referred to the question of whether she was a ‘working royal’ at the time of the article, naming other royals who undertook ‘paid work including, for example, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York and Prince Michael of Kent’.
Meghan admitted in the legal document she told two friends about the bombshell letter to her father. But she claimed she had no idea five of her closest friends were giving an interview to People.
She disclosed a list of those she had discussed the ‘private’ letter with in the papers lodged with the High Court: two of her friends, Prince Harry, her mother Doria Ragland, the press team at Kensington Palace and her solicitor. Meghan insisted she was so uninvolved in ‘the process of the People article’ that she found out about it only on the day it was published.
Her lawyers said she ‘did not know which of her friends had been involved and only found this information out some considerable time later’. It was also suggested that, initially, she had wrongly blamed one of her oldest friends because she ‘incorrectly assumed she had been involved’.
When the landmark court case against the Mail on Sunday first began last year, Meghan declined to comment on the claim by the newspaper that she had ‘knowingly’ allowed her friends to leak details of the letter – effectively breaching her own privacy. Later she submitted an emphatic denial.
Her lawyer David Sherborne wrote in the document filed to the court: ‘[She] did not know that her friends were giving an interview to People magazine, let alone that one of them would refer to the letter.
‘Indeed, when [she] discovered that such reference had been made, she was extremely upset.’
In the days before the royal wedding, Mr Markle, who lives in Mexico, suffered heart problems and could not attend.
Yesterday Meghan disclosed the plans she had made for her father.
She said her US business manager, Andrew Meyer, had arranged for her father to stay in ‘an apartment suite in Los Angeles, chosen and paid for’ by her, for three nights prior to the Windsor wedding.
And at her request, Mr Meyer and his family had invited Mr Markle to their home for dinner on his first evening in LA ‘so he would feel welcomed’.
The High Court judge who will preside over a trial, if it proceeds, has already thrown out the duchess’s claims that the Press waged a malicious campaign against her.
In a blow to her legal battle, Mr Justice Warby branded parts of her case ‘wholly inadequate’, ‘impermissibly vague’ and ‘irrelevant’.
He even denounced one element as ‘embarrassing’, in the old-fashioned legal sense of putting the newspaper in an impossible position.
The judge struck out multiple allegations made by Meghan that journalists had acted dishonestly and ‘stirred up’ the rift between her and her estranged father.