Duchess of Sussex apologises to court for forgetting book briefing emails

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Duchess of Sussex gave a new statement to the court credit:Bang Showbiz
Duchess of Sussex gave a new statement to the court credit:Bang Showbiz

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has apologised to the Court of Appeal for failing to remember she told an aide to brief the authors of her biography.

The 40-year-old former actress and her husband Prince Harry had previously insisted they "did not collaborate...nor were they interviewed" for Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's 'Finding Freedom', but emails between Meghan and her then-press secretary Jason Knauf about a meeting with the authors have now emerged.

In a witness statement to the Court of appeal, Mr. Knauf said Meghan and Harry, 37, "authorised specific cooperation in writing" in December 2018.

Emails showed he felt putting the authors in touch with the former 'Suits' star's friends was "not a good idea".

He added: "Being able to say hand on heart that we did not facilitate access will be important."

Harry responded: "I totally agree that we have to be able to say we didn’t have anything to do with it.

"Equally, you giving the right context and background to them would help get some truths out there."

And in a witness statement to the court, Mr. Knauf confirmed Meghan had sent him briefing notes on topics she suggested be discussed with the authors, including her father, Thomas Markle, and her half-siblings, as well as an infamous row over the tiara she would wear when she married Prince Harry in May 2018.

Harry had written: "Also, are u planning on giving them a rough idea of what she’s been through over the last 2yrs?

"Media onslaught, cyber bullying on a different scale, puppeteering Thomas Markle etc etc etc.

"Even if they choose not to use it, they should hear what it was like from someone who was in the thick of it. So if you aren’t planning on telling them, can I?!"

In a new statement, Meghan has apologised and confirmed her former press secretary had briefed the authors with her knowledge, and insisted she "had not remembered" their exchanges or set out to mislead the court.

She said: "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."

And Meghan insisted she would have been "more than happy to refer to" the emails if she had remembered them because they were "strongly" supportive of her case.

She added: "Not only do I refer to the background information shared with Mr Knauf as 'reminders', as much of it was information that he had already requested of me dating back to 2016 when he had asked me for a timeline relating to my family to enable him to engage with the media on enquiries, it is also a far cry from the very detailed personal information that the Defendant alleges that I wanted or permitted to put into the public domain.

"Had I wanted to have my private letter shared in this book, as the defendant falsely claims, this clearly would have been an opportunity to do so."

'Finding Freedom' was published in August 2020 and covers the couple's marriage and decision to walk away from royal life.

It is described as an "unauthorised biography" of the couple, but the writers had said they spoke to Harry and Meghan "when appropriate".

The claims emerged as part of an appeal by the Mail On Sunday's publishers, who have maintained it was lawful for them to publish a letter written by Meghan to her estranged father.

Meghan won a case earlier this year after a summary judgement from Lord Justice Warby ruled Associated Newspapers Limited's publication of her letter to her father was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful".

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