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.
Meghan Markle is seeking ‘summary judgement’ of her privacy claim
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.
FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES ON THE ROYAL FAMILY:
8.52pm update: Prince Edward worried about Sophie Wessex ‘suffering stigma her whole life’
The Countess, who turns 56 today, has been married to Edward for 21 years and the couple have two children together: Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13.
They are seen as one of the more stable relationships in the Royal Family, especially as Edward is the only one of the Queen’s children not to get divorced. However, the Earl used to be very worried about what dating him would mean for a girlfriend or wife.
He knew about the struggles he and his family endured with press interest and intrusion into their daily lives and relationships and was concerned that his partner would also have to put up with it also.
According to Ingrid Seward’s book ‘Prince Edward: A Biography’, Edward once said: “It’s not going to affect me at all because my anonymity has gone and I accept that.
“But you become very conscious of the feeling that if you try to get to know anybody they are just going to suffer a stigma for the rest of their lives.
“I cannot have a normal relationship with just about anybody ‒ but that’s the way it goes”.
8.13pm update: Princess Eugenie appears heavily pregnant in rare outing after due date bombshell
The 30-year-old, who is expecting her first child with husband Jack Brooksbanks, 35, in the coming weeks, put time aside to discuss the issue of modern-day slavery. It is a cause Eugenie has campaigned for since meeting women rescued from trafficking and slavery during a visit to India with her mum, Sarah, Duchess of York, in 2012.
She founded the Anti-Slavery Collective with childhood friend Julia de Boinville in 2017 after learning about the extent of modern slavery in the UK.
The pair met via webcam to talk about the topic on Tuesday as part of the sustainable development project Goals House’s January Dialogues.
Eugenie, the Queen’s granddaughter, beamed during the conversation with Project Everyone co-founder, Gail Gallie. The picture was shared on the Anti-Slavery Collective’s Twitter.
Princess Eugenie appeared after an insider told Hello! that the royal baby is due in “mid-February”.
The infant will be the ninth great-grandchild of the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99.
It is the first grandchild of Prince Andrew, 60, and Sarah Ferguson, 61.
Eugenie and Jack confirmed they were expecting their little one to arrive in “early 2021”.
Princess Charlotte shares a special dance talent with her mother Kate
7.27pm update: Princess Charlotte the dancer! Young royal copies mum Kate Middleton with sweet talent
The future king made the sweet revelation as he spoke to a group of schoolchildren for his ITV documentary A Planet For Us All.
He surprised the delighted children after they built a bug hotel called Buckingham Palace to raise awareness of the importance of insects for helping protect the environment.
But during their chat with William, the children were full of questions about his own offspring.
One child asked the Duke if his eldest son Prince George, 7, had taught the rest of the family how to do the floss dance.
William replied that his daughter Charlotte, 5, had learnt the popular dance style when she was only four after her mother also mastered the skill.
He said: “No, Charlotte can floss.
“Catherine can floss, but I can’t. It’s, it’s like a really horrible film to watch me floss.”
7.02pm update: Meghan Markle aide ‘fact-checked Finding Freedom’ ‒ court update
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers for alleged breach of privacy and copyright by the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.
Her legal team are applying for summary judgement in a hearing today which, if approved by Judge Warby, would end the case without it going to trial.
The case centres around five articles containing extracts from a letter she sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
Associated Newspapers’ legal team requested, and were granted, permission to amend their defence after the publication of the book Finding Freedom.
The biography, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, was published in August and was hailed as the book to set the record straight and show Prince Harry and Meghan’s side of the story.
However, the Duke and Duchess were swift to distance themselves from its release.
A spokesman for the couple said in July: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.”
Meghan Markle and Harry: Expert discusses review of HRH titles
6.28pm update: Queen sends private message of congratulations to Joe Biden ahead of inauguration
Buckingham Palace has confirmed Her Majesty reached out to the incoming US commander-in-chief.
Omid Scobie, the Royal Editor of Harpers Bizarre US, tweeted: “Buckingham Palace confirms that the Queen sent a private message to President @JoeBiden earlier today, ahead of #Inauguration2021.”
A Palace spokesman said: “Her Majesty sent a private message to President Biden ahead of the inauguration.”
5.58pm update: Meghan Markle blasted for ‘confusing and tortuous account’ in court case hearing
The Duchess of Sussex is suing publisher Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) after its Mail on Sunday tabloid printed extracts of a handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
She has asked a judge to rule in her favour without need for a potentially embarrassing trial, with her lawyers telling the High Court on Tuesday that publishing the “intrinsically private, personal and sensitive letter” was a plain breach of her privacy to which there was no viable defence.
But lawyers representing ANL argued Meghan had given a “confusing and tortuous account of the genesis of the Letter and her subsequent communications about its existence”.
The Mail on Sunday’s lawyers argued Meghan’s privacy case was “wholly unsuitable” for a decision without a trial.
They backed this up by claiming Meghan’s arguments “in respect of certain important factual issues have shifted” as the case has progressed.
It comes as four former employees of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have evidence which could “shed some light” on Meghan’s handwritten letter to her estranged father, the High Court has been told.
Line of succession to the throne
3.58pm update: Meghan Markle net worth: Huge sum former actress has in the bank
Meghan Markle, 39, and her husband Prince Harry have a combined net worth of £37 million. It’s a sum that is likely to soar this year thanks to the couple’s recent multi-million Netflix and Spotify deals.
Before becoming the Duchess of Sussex and a member of the Royal Family, Meghan was a successful actress.
Her most high-profile role to date is playing Rachel Zane in the USA Network show Suits, for which she was paid £37,000 per episode and an annual salary of around £330,000.
She appeared in over 100 episodes and seven seasons of the show, from 2011 to 2017.
In 2010, Meghan also starred in the films Remember Me, which earned her £137,000, and The Candidate, for which she received £125,000.
According to Money.com, Meghan was said to have an estimated £4million in the bank before she married Prince Harry in May 2018.
3.09pm: Kate calls NHS nurses to give support in private meeting away from spotlight
Kate carried out two engagements yesteday, according to the Court Circular, which records every official event attended by the full-time working royals.
The Duchess of Cambridge attended the first engagement of the day in her role of patron, reaching out to the organisation Nursing Now.
The engagement took place remotely, in line with the Government order to work from home wherever possible during the third national lockdown.
The Court Circular noted, under the date of January 19: “The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron, Nursing Now Campaign, this afternoon held a Meeting via video link with nurses from Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.”
This international organisation is present in 117 countries and aims at improving health by raising the status and profile of nurses and midwives.
Rachel Russell taking over from Katie Harris.
2.55pm update: Harry warned against making same ‘toxic’ mistakes as Diana
A royal expert has warned Prince Harry against making the same mistakes as his late mother Princess Diana.
Royal expert Daniela Elser compared Harry and his brother Prince William’s alleged rift to the very public breakdown of Prince Charles and Diana’s relationship – with both giving their side of the story to the press.
Her comments follow claims by the Duke of Sussex’s friend, ITV journalist Tom Bradby, that he has been left “heartbroken” after quitting royal duties and moving to America with Meghan Markle.
Writing for news.com.au, Ms Elser said: “What is so interesting here is the fact that this current situation is starting to bear a resemblance to the early ’90s and the internecine, bloodless conflict known as the War of the Wales.”
Royal expert Daniela Elser compared Harry and his brother Prince William’s alleged rift to the very public breakdown of Prince Charles and Diana’s relationship
2.10pm update: Queen ‘breached’ Royal Family protocol in ‘unlikely’ move monarch felt was ‘necessary’
The Queen deliberately broke a Royal Family tradition instead of enacting her usual tactic of “choosing silence” because she felt the “importance” of the moment, royal commentators have claimed.
The Queen “breached royal protocol” by confirming that she and Prince Philip had received the coronavirus vaccine, royal commentators have said.
Buckingham Palace announced that the monarch and Duke of Edinburgh, 94 and 99 years old respectively, had been administered their first doses near the beginning of the month.
HeirPod hosts Omid Scobie and ABC News foreign correspondent Maggie Rulli discussed why this was break from tradition.
1.25pm 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 , spoke to talkRADIO’s Mike Graham about the challenge that this presented for heir to the throne Charles.
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
12pm 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.”
A royal expert has claimed too many members of the Royal Family are “freeloading”
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.
10.15am 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!”
The Queen wished Sophie a happy birthday
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.
Happy birthday to the Countess of Wessex!
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.