The ruling also took Meghan off the hook for misleading the court by denying any connection to the authors of the flattering book about the couple. Her apology for that erroneous statement, which she blamed on erroneous recollection, was a public relations embarrassment, but Thursday’s decision means nothing more.
The court stated that this statement had nothing to do with the legal issue of whether The Mail violated its privacy. “It was an annoying loss of memory on her part at best, but it seems to me that this has nothing to do with the issues raised in the grounds of appeal,” said Judge Jeffrey Vos, writing on behalf of the trials.
Attorneys at the Associated Newspapers, publisher of The Mail, argued that Meghan’s involvement in attempts to shape the book showed a pattern of careful management of her public image. They said that as a public figure, she should have known that the letter could be leaked. The Mail received a letter, presumably from Mr Markle, and published excerpts in February 2019.
The Mail cited correspondence between the Duchess and her then PR secretary, Jason Knauf, in which she asked him to review a draft of the letter. “Obviously, everything I wrote was done with the understanding that it could leak, so I chose my words carefully,” she wrote.
The Duchess, he said, asked if referring to Mr. Markle as “dad” would be a smart PR strategy. “Given that I’ve only ever called him dad,” she wrote, “it might make sense to open up as such (despite the fact that he is not on the paternal side), and in the event of an unfortunate information leak, it could cause you pain”.