The very privacy Meghan is trying to defend is on the line after the court ruled Associated Newspapers can rely on a recently-published biography during the upcoming trial, Mark Stephens, of British firm Howard Kennedy, said. While she carries on her battle against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday she accused of a privacy breach, the Duchess of Sussex is risking to experience an even greater invasion of privacy.
He told Newsweek: “If I was advising Meghan I’d be saying get out now.
“This is another hole below the waterline.
“The risk is that how she curates her reputation, what she allows into the public domain and what she doesn’t, are now things that will be picked over by lawyers in cross-examination.
“The stakes are enormous because at the moment her reputation is not damaged particularly.
“She’s had an invasion of privacy and she feels strongly about it but the reality is she has only got a downside here.
“The more that she protests about wanting to protect her privacy, the more that people are going to investigate how she has curated the Streisand effect of amplifying the positive PR and negativizing the other PR.”
The Streisand effect is a social phenomenon which sees attempts to hide and protect information causing the unintended consequence of casting even more publicity on it.
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This effect was named after US entertainer Barbra Streisand, who in the early 2000s inadvertently drew further attention to pictures of her Malibu house she was trying to suppress.
Earlier this week, the lawyers representing Associated Newspapers were granted their request to the court to amend the publisher’s defence to argue Meghan had “co-operated with the authors of the recently published book ‘Finding Freedom’ to put out their version of certain events”.
This, Associated Newspapers argued, would undermine her privacy claim.
Finding Freedom is an unauthorised biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
It provides intimate details of the blossoming romance between Meghan and Prince Harry – including what happened on their first date or during their first romantic trip to Botswana.
It also recounts what the Duchess noticed the most in Kate and Prince William’s home in London the first time she visited it, her charitable work and the steps taken before splitting from the Royal Family.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Master Francesca Kaye said the allegation Meghan had fed information to the authors may quickly collapse at the upcoming trial.
However, she ruled Associated Newspapers is entitled to advance this argument in its defence.
Both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the authors of Finding Freedom have denied Meghan or Harry contributed to the book.
Prince Harry announced last October Meghan had decided to sue Associated Newspapers after the Mail on Sunday published extracts of a private letter she wrote to her estranged father.
The Duchess accuses the publisher of misuse of private information, breach of data protection and copyright infringement.
Associated Newspapers wholly denies any wrongdoing.
The trial is due to start on January 11 and is set to last approximately 10 days.