Four Of Meghan Markle's Former Royal Aides To Testify In Her Court Case
By Emily Lee
January 21, 2021
Meghan Markle is currently embroiled in a legal battle with U.K. tabloid publisher Associated Newspapers. The Duchess of Sussex sued the publisher for publishing snippets of a private letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, shortly after her royal wedding in 2018. She is seeking damages for breach of privacy and copyright infringement.
Meghan's legal team recently requested the case have a summary judgment, which means Associated Newspapers' defense would be dismissed before the case goes to trial. Antony White, the lawyer representing Associated Newspapers, is fighting that request. As a result, Meghan's former royal aides are being called to testify in the ongoing court case.
According to the BBC, four members of Meghan and Prince Harry's former staff have said they're willing to give evidence in the case. Samantha Cohen, the couple's former private secretary, Sara Latham, their former director of communications, Jason Knauf, their communications secretary, and Christian Jones, their former deputy communications secretary will cooperate in the legal proceedings.
Lawyers for the aides released a public statement that declared they would remain "neutral" in their testimonies. "None of our clients welcomes his or her potential involvement in this litigation, which has arisen purely as a result of the performance of his or her duties in their respective jobs at the material time," the statement reads. "Nor does any of our clients wish to take sides in the dispute between your respective clients. Our clients are all strictly neutral."
"They have no interest in assisting either party to the proceedings," the statement continues. "Their only interest is in ensuring a level playing field, insofar as any evidence they may be able to give is concerned."
The lawyers for the aides—who are being referred to as the 'Palace Four'— also acknowledged that they could potentially "shed some light" on three major issues concerning Meghan's letter to her father: "the creation of the letter and the electronic draft"; "whether or not the claimant anticipated that the letter might come into in the public domain"; and whether Meghan "directly or indirectly provided private information, generally and in relation to the letter specifically, to the authors of Finding Freedom."
While White claims the statement from the Palace Four's legal team "factually cries out for investigation at trial," Meghan's lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argues the letter "contains no information at all that supports the defendant's case on alleged co-authorship (of Meghan's letter), and no indication that evidence will be forthcoming that will support the defendant's case should the matter proceed to trial."
Should Meghan's request for a summary judgment be denied, she would be the first royal to undergo a public trial.