In the years since she married Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has been forced to constantly defend herself from attacks on multiple fronts.
In addition to the abuse she’s endured at the hands of her in-laws and her own family, Meghan has long been a favorite target of the UK tabloid media.
While she’s enjoyed the support of her husband during these tiresome conflicts, often, Meghan is essentially on her own, butting heads with very powerful foes without any of the support that British royals have historically benefitted from.
There’s a reason that Meghan is so frequently compared to Princess Diana:
The two women are the only royals in recent history who have been forced to do battle against the very family that granted them their titles.
And they’re the only members of the extended Windsor clan who have been left vulnerable to the most vicious attacks the media can muster after being stripped of the protections that are normally afforded to people in their position.
This unprecedented vulnerability has forced Meghan to fend for herself, often with multiple court cases pending at the same time.
Earlier this week, we reported that the Daily Mail appealed a ruling in Meghan’s favor by a judge who determined that the tabloid had violated the Duchess’ rights by publishing the contents of a private letter she had written to her father.
That case is now intersecting with a previous legal battle involving claims that Meghan had bullied members of her household staff during her time in London.
The accuser in that case, Jason Knauf, was later fired by the royals, but he’s remained a thorn in Meghan’s side thanks to his newly-formed alliance with the Mail.
In a witness statement filed this week, Knauf claimed that Meghan wrote the letter with “the understanding that it could be leaked.”
He added that she considered how calling Thomas Markle "Daddy" would “pull at the heartstrings” in the “unfortunate” event that the letter was made public.
"The Duchess wanted to make sure that if the letter became public it would assist with setting out her perspective on the problems with her father’s behaviour,” Knauf said.
“In the messages on 24 August she said she felt ‘fantastic; after writing it and added that: ‘And if he leaks it then that’s on his conscious(sic) but at least the world will know the truth. Words I could never voice publicly.’”
Knauf went on to claim that the letter was a tactical move by Meghan, who had become frustrated by her father’s insistence on speaking with the press, and who sought to discredit him by setting a trap.
“Given Mr Markle’s increasing cooperation with reporters and photographers the Duchess had lost confidence that the privacy of her communication with her father would be respected by him,” Knauf said.
He added that Meghan “explored options for written communication that might convince him to stop giving interviews, but that could also set the record straight if he gave them to the media.”
In a 22-page witness statement of her own, Meghan denied predicting that her father would leak the letter, but she says she did acknowledge that there was a chance that that would be the outcome.
“While we had to recognize that anything was possible in the extraordinary circumstances in which we were living and therefore the need to mitigate against the risks of disclosure of the Letter’s contents, I did not think that my father would sell or leak the Letter, primarily because it would not put him in a good light," Meghan wrote.
She added that she “merely recognized” that it was a “possibility” that the letter could be leaked, adding:
“To be clear, I did not want any of it to be published, and wanted to ensure that the risk of it being manipulated or misleadingly edited was minimised, were it to be exploited.”
Elsewhere in his statement, Knauf claimed that Meghan lied to the court when she claimed that she had not had any interaction with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand while the authors were writing and researching Finding Freedom, their book about the conflict between Meghan and her in-laws.
Meghan’s statement is being called an apology, and the Duchess does admit in her account that her previous statements on the subject of her interactions with Scobie and Durand may have been misleading.
"Until receipt of Mr Knauf’s Witness Statement the only exchanges I remembered having about the Book with Mr Knauf were my discussion with him in the Audience Room and the email exchanges of 12 September 2018 about proactively asking our friends not to participate in the Book."
"In the light of the information and documents that Mr Knauf has provided 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."
"In fact, had I been aware of these exchanges at the time of serving the Re-Amended Reply, I would have been more than happy to refer to them as I feel they strongly support my case."
The Mail’s appeal will be heard over the course of the next few days, and a decision is expected sometime next week.
We’ll have updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.