Neat handwriting shows Meghan ‘expected’ letter to be published, newspaper says

By Tess de la Mare, PA
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Neat handwriting shows Meghan ‘expected’ letter to be published, newspaper says

Lawyers for The Mail On Sunday and Mail Online have claimed that the Duchess of Sussex’s “immaculate” handwriting in a private letter to her father is proof she intended it to be published.

The two outlets are in a legal battle with the duchess over the publication of the letter which she wrote to Thomas Markle in August 2018 about a series of allegations he had made about her in the press.

Meghan’s action against Associated Newspapers Limited, the Mail On Sunday and Mail Online’s parent company, alleges the publication of the letter amounts to misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

But, in its defence, the company has said the duchess’s care over the letter’s presentation indicated she intended it to be disclosed to the public or believed that it would be.

Documents submitted to the High Court stated: “It is to be inferred that the letter was written and sent by the claimant with a view to it being read by third parties and/or disclosed to the public, alternatively knowing that the same was very likely.”

It continued: “It is apparent from the letter that the claimant took great care over its presentation.

“The letter appears to have been being immaculately copied out by the claimant in her own elaborate handwriting from a previous draft.

“There are no crossings-out or amendments as there usually are with a spontaneous draft.

“It is to be inferred also from the care the claimant took over the presentation of the letter that she anticipated it being disclosed to and read by third parties.”

Before landing her role in hit US TV series Suits, Meghan supplemented her income by teaching calligraphy and also by creating custom invitations for weddings and other events.

The Duchess of Sussex (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

In an interview with Esquire in February 2018, she said she had discovered her talent for calligraphy at the Catholic girls’ school she attended as a teenager.

She said: “I went to an all-girls Catholic school for like six years during the time when kids actually had handwriting class.

“I’ve always had a propensity for getting the cursive down pretty well.

“What it evolved into was my pseudo-waitressing job when I was auditioning.

“I didn’t wait tables. I did calligraphy.”

The court documents submitted by Associated Newspapers Limited further claimed the duchess’s decision to keep a copy of the letter indicated she intended to share it with third parties in the future.

It said: “The claimant kept a copy of the letter.

“It is to be inferred she did so in order that she could use it herself, including by disclosing its contents.”

Currently there is no date set for the trial.

It may be months before any trial takes place and there may be a series of hearings beforehand to deal with preliminary legal issues.

The parties may settle the claim out of court at any stage of the proceedings and, if they do, there is likely to be a statement made in open court which tends to include an apology from the defendant.