She waved goodbye to the UK in March – apparently for good. But last week, it was reported that Meghan Markle could be making an explosive return to the UK early next year, as she’s set to give evidence in her multi-million pound privacy case against the Mail On Sunday – which has had its High Court date provisionally set for January 2021.
Insiders claim it will be a “stressful and heartbreaking” experience – not least because Meghan’s expected to come face-to-face with her father Thomas Markle – but we’re told she’s assured her lawyers that “she will appear if that’s what’s required of her”.
“Meghan is determined to detail what a devastating impact this has had on her life,” says an insider close to the Duchess of Sussex, who launched her legal battle against the Mail’s parent company Associated Newspapers last year, after it published excerpts of a letter she wrote to her father in 2018. At the time, Thomas claimed that he had shared the letter with the press only after its existence had already been mentioned in a People magazine article that “vilified” him.
We’re told, “Meghan is fully aware that the opposing lawyers have a duty to make their line of questioning uncomfortable for her, but that doesn’t faze her. Her attitude is very much ‘bring it on’ – and it goes without saying that Harry is backing her every step of the way.”
It may still be a few months before the court battle begins, but – judging by last week’s pre-trial hearing – both sides are preparing for a tough fight in proceedings that could cost up to £3million. Last week, the Mail’s lawyers requested to update their written defence following the publication of last month’s Finding Freedom, Prince Harry and Meghan’s explosive biography, which contains excerpts of the very same letter.
Relive Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding day:
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding -RADIO
Meghan and Harry – who last week angered critics claiming they’d broken royal protocol by appearing in a video urging Americans to vote in next month’s elections – have always denied having any involvement in the book, and authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have confirmed they had no interaction with the pair while writing it.
Last week, Meghan’s lawyers went further, calling “the vast majority” of the book “the product of creative licence and/or inaccurate”. But the Mail’s lawyers disagree, claiming that “people working on behalf of [Meghan]” did cooperate with the authors, and that Meghan had decided to “bypass” the palace press office in 2018, and use her friends “as de facto PR agents… to influence the media in a positive way” (which is allegedly how People learnt about the letter to her father in the first place). They even suggest she showed the palace media team the letter before sending it, as she fully expected it to go public.
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With all this going on, it’s fair to say that Meghan would have preferred her friends to keep schtum over the coming months – which made last week’s outburst from a certain Jessica Mulroney all the more surprising. In June, Meg’s former BFF Jessica became embroiled in a public race row with US blogger Sasha Exeter – with sources saying that a horrified Meghan had turned her back on her bestie in response. But last week, Jessica hit out at the “lies” about her and Meghan, saying, “Meghan and I are family. She is the kindest friend and has checked up on me every day.”
According to insiders, while Meghan and Jessica have patched things up, the duchess really didn’t want another person speaking about her at a time when her communication with friends is under scrutiny. We’re told, “She would have preferred it if Jessica kept quiet. But ultimately, she didn’t have much say in the matter.”
Judging by Meghan’s willingness to testify in court, we’re sure she’ll have a lot to say soon enough.
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