Four royal aides who worked for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have said they’re willing to testify in Meghan’s court case against Associated Publishers. Meghan is suing Associated Publishers over the Mail on Sunday’s publication of excerpts from a private letter to her father, Thomas Markle.
Lawyers for the aides said they will remain “strictly neutral” in the legal battle. Four of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s former staff members have said they’re willing to give evidence in Meghan’s court case against Associated Publishers, as the BBC reports. The Duchess of Sussex is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online over five articles which excerpted a private letter from Meghan to her father, Thomas Markle; she is seeking damages for breach of privacy and copyright infringement.
The royal aides in question are Samantha Cohen, former private secretary to Meghan and Harry, Sara Latham, the Sussexes’ former director of communications, Jason Knauf, who served as their communications secretary, and Christian Jones, their former deputy communications secretary. Jones just resigned as Prince William’s private secretary, a role he took up after the Sussexes stepped down as senior royals.
Lawyers for the aides, who have been dubbed “the Palace Four,” said in a letter that they would remain “neutral” in the court case. “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 lawyers said. “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 aides’ lawyers continued. “Their only interest is in ensuring a level playing field, insofar as any evidence they may be able to give is concerned.”
The aides’ lawyers said in the letter that they could potentially “shed some light” on three 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 or not Meghan “directly or indirectly provided private information, generally and in relation to the letter specifically, to the authors of Finding Freedom.”
The Duchess of Sussex’s lawyers have requested summary judgement, which would see Associated Newspapers’ defense dismissed and prevent the case from going to trial. But Antony White, representing Associated Newspapers, said the letter from the aides’ lawyers “factually cries out for investigation at trial,” as Sky News reports. The publishers claim that Meghan consulted her press team over the letter to her father, writing it “with a view to it being disclosed publicly at some future point.”
Meghan’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued in response that 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.”