Prince Harry’s wife Meghan could face her father in court over the publication of a letter she wrote to him, the British media said on Wednesday when she made a public appearance in Canada.
Meghan filed a lawsuit against The Mail with publishers on Sunday in October after the tabloid printed a handwritten letter Thomas Markle had shown.
The weekly newspaper of the middle class has now given up its defense, which opens the possibility that Meghan and her father could be called to testify against each other.
Harry and Meghan are in the eye of a storm after sensationally quitting full-time royals last week – before discussing their plans with Queen Elizabeth II.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as they are called, are now in discussions with high-ranking kings about how their desired new roles could work. The final details will be announced in the coming days.
The prospect of a high court showdown only increases the pressure on the couple.
Harry, sixth on the throne, married former television actress Meghan at Windsor Castle in May 2018 after a whirlwind romance surfaced.
Her father, an award-winning former lighting director who now lives in Mexico, did not attend the wedding after taking paparazzi photographs and being treated for chest pain in the hospital.
The letter was written in August 2018 and published in February 2019, shortly after US magazine People published a story in which Meghan’s friends reported on the letter, which shed light on her problematic relationship with her estranged father.
Meghan made her claim last October towards the end of a well-received tour of southern Africa, overshadowing the couple’s trip.
She filed a lawsuit against Publisher Associated Newspapers for “misuse of private information, violation of copyright law, and violation of the Data Protection Act 2018”.
Her lawyers said at the time that the publication was “part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her and her husband.”
Should Meghan win, any damage will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
In an accompanying statement, Harry said: “The content of a private letter has been unlawfully published in a deliberately destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and to promote the fissile agenda of the media group in question.
“They deliberately misled you by omitting selected paragraphs, certain sentences, and even individual words to hide the lies that have perpetuated them for over a year.”
Associated slideshow: Prince Harry and Meghan leave the house (provided by Photo Services)
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Newly uncovered legal documents outlining Sunday’s mail show that they will rely on evidence from Markle, including that he “had an overriding right to tell his version of what had happened”.
The newspaper’s sister newspaper, the Daily Mail, said on its front page on Wednesday that Markle was ready to testify against his daughter.
The mail on Sunday also argues that the letter’s publication was a response to the “one-sided” article in People – meaning that the letter’s existence was already in the public domain.
On her first public appearance since the summit, Meghan visited the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center in Vancouver on Tuesday and discussed “issues that affect women in the community,” as seen in a photo the shelter posted on Facebook.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, spent six weeks over Christmas on Vancouver Island on Canada’s Pacific coast with their son Archie, who was born in May last year.
The couple returned to the UK, but Meghan has since returned to Canada and missed the crisis summit on Monday at Queen Elizabeth’s winter residence in Sandringham.
The 93-year-old monarch, her eldest son and heir Prince Charles (71) and his two sons Princes William and Harry held talks to give the Sussexes a future.
The couple would like to step down as a high-ranking royal family, share financial independence from British taxpayers, split their time between the UK and Canada, and withdraw from the long-established common media system for reporting on royal commitments.