Harry faced constant berating from royals over Thomas Markle, Meghan claimed

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In a private message, Meghan Markle told a former aide that Prince Harry faced "constant berating" from the Royal Family over her strained relationship with her estranged father.

She said that the Palace “fundamentally don't understand” the difficulty she had trying to stop her father speaking to the press.

The Duchess of Sussex sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a "personal and private" letter to her 77-year-old father Thomas Markle.

A High Court judge decided to grant Meghan summary judgment meaning she won her case without a trial, but ANL has now launched an appeal.

During the hearing this week, ANL's lawyers told senior judges they want to rely on new evidence from Jason Knauf – former communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who originally claimed that the duchess wrote to him with the understanding that the letter could be leaked.

After extracts of texts and emails between the duchess and Mr Knauf were used in court, further texts were made public on Friday following an application by the PA news agency and The Times.

Meghan previously told the Court of Appeal that the main purpose of the letter "was to encourage my father to stop talking to the press" after public criticism and a "media onslaught" surrounding Mr Markle.

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"It was only when my father began criticising the royal family…that senior members of the family and their advisers expressed their concern over the public attacks, and expressed their desire to have them stopped," she wrote in her evidence.

But in the newly released text messages, sent to Mr Knauf while she was drafting the handwritten letter, the duchess can be seen expressing her frustration about the response of the royal family.

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She wrote: "The catalyst for my doing this is seeing how much pain this is causing H.

"Even after a week with his dad and endlessly explaining the situation, his family seem to forget the context – and revert to 'can't she just go and see him and make this stop?'

"They fundamentally don't understand so at least by writing H will be able to say to his family 'she wrote him a letter and he's still doing it'.

"By taking this form of action I protect my husband from this constant berating and while unlikely perhaps it will give my father a moment to pause.”

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The Court of Appeal also heard that Mr Knauf provided information to the authors of Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand – leading to Meghan apologising for misleading the court about whether he had given information.

In his witness statement, Mr Knauf said the book was "discussed on a routine basis", which was "discussed directly with the duchess multiple times in person and over email".

In her evidence, made public on Wednesday, Meghan said: "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 new texts and emails show that in an email to Meghan in December 2018, Mr Knauf said he had spent "close to two hours" with the authors of the unauthorised biography.

"I took them through everything," he wrote.

"They are going to time the book for run up to the baby being born and it is going to be very positive."

Mr Knauf also told the duchess that the book would be a "celebration of you that corrects the record on a number of fronts" according to the authors.

At the end of the hearing on Thursday, the three senior judges said they will take time to consider their decision and give their ruling on ANL's appeal at a later date.

  • Meghan Markle
  • Prince Harry
  • Royal Family

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