By Claire Gordon • 11 November 2021 • 19:04
"948753890" (Public Domain) by [email protected]
The Duchess of Sussex has apologised to court after she ‘forgot’ that she had given a senior aide permission to brief the authors of an unofficial biography. Meghan Markle has submitted a statement to the court in which she says that she could not remember emails between her and her then press secretary, Jason Knauf, about the unauthorised book.
The couple’s former communications secretary provided information to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the authors of Finding Freedom, the court of appeal has heard. Knauf gave a witness statement in which he said the book was “discussed on a routine basis”, and “discussed directly with the duchess multiple times in person and over email.”
He also said he was given several briefing points to share with the authors by Meghan during meetings to provide background information. Knauf claims he emailed Prince Harry about the meetings and had the response – “I totally agree that we have to be able to say we didn’t have anything to do with it. Equally, you giving the right context and background to them would help get some truths out there.”
Meghan admits misleading court and her apology was read to the court and stated “I accept that Mr Knauf did provide some information to the authors for the book and that he did so with my knowledge, for a meeting that he planned for with the authors in his capacity as communications secretary. The extent of the information he shared is unknown to me. When I approved the passage … I did not have the benefit of seeing these emails and I apologise to the court for the fact that I had not remembered these exchanges at the time. I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court.”
The court of appeal is hearing evidence as the Duchess successfully sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over five articles that published a “personal and private” letter sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018. The high court ruled the letter was unlawful but ANL has mounted a challenge, arguing that the case should go to a trial on Meghan’s claims including a breach of privacy and copyright.
The appeal is due to last until Thursday 11 November, with a ruling to come at a later date.
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