The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in March
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in March

Meghan did not collaborate with authors of Finding Freedom, High Court hears

The claim comes in the latest stage of the Duchess of Sussex’s legal action against Associated Newspapers

Sophie Gallagher
Monday 21 September 2020 17:05
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not collaborate with the authors of Finding Freedom during the production of the biography, Meghan’s lawyers told the High Court on Monday.

The book, written by journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, was published last month and gave a detailed account of the Sussexes’ relationship and their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

A spokesperson for the couple told The Independent on numerous occasions that the couple were not involved and that Finding Freedom was based on the authors’ own experiences in the royal household.

Now Meghan Markle’s lawyers have reiterated the same point in the latest stage of her legal action against Associated Newspapers (ANL), publisher of The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online

The duchess is suing the newspapers over privacy, infringement of copyright and breaches of statutory duty under the Data Protection Act, for reproducing part of a letter written to her father, Thomas Markle.

At the latest hearing, ANL sought permission to amend its written defence on the basis that Meghan had “lost her rights to privacy in the contents of the letter” because “she and her husband cooperated with the authors” to put out “their version of events”.

But, in documents seen by The Independent, Meghan’s lawyers said neither she nor Prince Harry had collaborated with the authors on the book, that they were not interviewed for it and that they did not provide photographs for it.

They stated that the couple did not meet with the authors “for the purposes of the book” and that Meghan’s PR representative was not given the book beforehand to suggest proposed changes to the text. 

“The copy of the book was provided just before its serialisation, as is common practice, and at a time when it was obviously too late for any changes to be made,” they said.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.

In a preliminary hearing in August, Mr Justice Warby allowed the identities of five of Meghan’s friends, who spoke anonymously to People magazine, to remain protected. He added “for the time being, at least” that should be the case.

Following the ruling, a spokesperson for Meghan said she had the interests of her friends at heart.

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