Meghan Markle's father could testify in royal lawsuit over private letter, documents show

Meghan Markle's estranged father, Thomas Markle, could be called to testify as a defense witness in her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday newspaper, court documents reveal.

Meghan is suing the newspaper and its parent company Associated Newspapers for publishing a letter she wrote to her father. The civil lawsuit accuses the newspaper of copyright infringement, misuse of private information and violating the U.K.'s data protection law with the publication of the letter.

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Documents filed at the High Court show the newspaper plans to rely on evidence from Thomas, stating that he “had a weighty right to tell his version of what had happened between himself and his daughter, including the contents of the letter.”

Meghan Markle has been estranged for her father for years amid the royal wedding drama.

Meghan Markle has been estranged for her father for years amid the royal wedding drama. (Mega/Reuters)

Papers drawn up by lawyers for the newspaper argue that members of Britain's royal family "generate and rely on publicity about themselves and their lives in order to maintain the privileged positions they hold and to promote themselves.''

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Thomas Markle recently said in an interview that he was "disappointed" in Meghan and Harry's decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

Thomas Markle recently said in an interview that he was "disappointed" in Meghan and Harry's decision to step down as senior members of the royal family. (Reuters)

The paper also argues the letter's publication was in response to a "one-sided" article in People Magazine in February 2019 featuring an interview with five unnamed "close friends" of the duchess which referenced the letter, meaning its existence was in the public domain.

The documents came to light this week amid the firestorm of attention that followed Meghan and Prince Harry's decision to issue a statement announcing that they wanted to step back from their royal roles, become financially independent and split their time between Britain and North America. Queen Elizabeth II convened a family summit on Monday at her Sandringham estate in eastern England and decided the couple could live part-time in Canada.

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Meghan was seen in Canada for the first time since the crisis began when she visited the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre in Vancouver to discuss issues affecting women in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. The shelter posted a photograph of the duchess' visit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.