WORLD EXCLUSIVE

Meghan ‘Rides Royal Coach And Horses’ Through Mail Newspaper ‘Lies’ – Court Doc

MEGHAN Markle has made damaging new court claims about the publishers of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – she says it:
·
      LIED to readers about publishing the “full” content of a letter she wrote to Thomas Markle
·      OMITTED key passages because it would “undermine” its “negative” portrayal of the Duchess of Sussex
·      EXPLOITED Thomas Markle – with questions over methods used to track him down in Mexico
·      MADE UP a series of claims about her baby shower, and relationship with mother Doria Ragland
·      INVENTED stories about the renovation of her marital home with Prince Harry
·      CLAIMED falsely the couple bought a £5,000 copper bath, a £500,000 soundproofing system, an orangery, a yoga studio, a tennis court, and an entire new WING of their home, and then:
·      INSISTED wrongly the “non-existent” items were paid for with “taxpayers’” money – in a bid to poison readers against the Royal couple.

Offending article - the  Mail on Sunday  story that started a legal battle by publishing a private letter between daughter and father.
Offending article – the Mail on Sunday story that started a legal battle by publishing a private letter between daughter and father.

MEGHAN Markle has accused the Mail newspaper titles of waging a three-year fake news campaign against her – and lying about its publication of a highly private letter she wrote her father, Byline Investigates can exclusively report.

Court papers, newly filed in the Duchess of Sussex’s High Court action against Associated Newspapers, set out an extensive list of “false” and “absurd” stories that commentators say raise serious questions about the honesty of the Mail papers’ journalism. 

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If anyone was in any doubt that the Mail papers are waging a campaign of hatred against the Duchess of Sussex this document will convince them.

— Professor Brian Cathcart

Among them, are articles stating Prince Harry and Meghan bought a £5,000 copper bath, spent £500,000 on soundproofing, and even built an entire new wing of their home – and charged it to taxpayers – when in fact, the documents explain, this was all “completely untrue”.

The Duchess is also complaining about a “deliberately inflammatory” story that connected her enjoyment of avocado toast to “murder” and “human rights” abuses, and another that linked a community kitchen project she supports to Islamist jihadists.

In the legal papers – served as part of a claim alleging breach of copyright, misuse of private information, and data protection offences – the 38-year-old Duchess accuses Britain’s biggest mid-market newspaper publisher of waging a long campaign of lies and misinformation.

Media commentator, Professor of journalism Brian Cathcart, said: “The Duchess’s lawyers are driving a Royal coach and horses through the credibility of Mail journalism.”

Royal couple: the Duchess of Sussex, pictured with her husband the Duke on a recent tour of South Africa, is taking on Associated Newspapers in the High Court (c) PA
Royal couple: the Duchess of Sussex, pictured with her husband the Duke on a recent tour of South Africa, is taking on Associated Newspapers in the High Court (c) PA

Prof Cathcart added: “The papers must respond, and if they can’t justify their reporting – in other words, if they can’t show it’s accurate and verified – then the editors of these papers should resign.

“There can be no possible defence for national newspapers waging a war of falsehood of the kind alleged here.”

Official: part of the Duchess’s filing
Official: part of the Duchess’s filing

The latest explosive revelations in the Duchess’s legal fight centre on a string of stories published since the beginning of her relationship with the Duke in 2016.

Principal among them is the Mail on Sunday’s publication of a letter she wrote to her father Thomas, which the paper claimed was “in full”, when in fact little more than half the content of the five-page handwritten letter appeared.

In two articles – which the paper later boasted helped boost its circulation to a “record” 936,000 in February this year – it ran details of the private communication, using it to make a series of negative inferences about its author.

These included an “analysis” by a so-called handwriting expert that, the paper claimed, showed the Duchess as a “narcissistic showman whose self-control is wavering”.

Negative: an extract from the Duchess’s legal document about a handwriting ‘analysis’
Negative: an extract from the Duchess’s legal document about a handwriting ‘analysis’

In the ‘Part 18’ legal reply to questions from Associated Newspapers for “more information” about her claims, the Duchess’s legal team at Schillings LLP said the letter deliberately misled readers.

It states: “The omitted parts demonstrate the Claimant’s care for her father and others, as well as her concern about the UK tabloid media exploiting her father, and the fact that she addresses untruths previously published by the Defendant. Those elements did not fit the Defendant’s narrative within the Articles.

“In such circumstances, the pronouncement by the Defendant that it was revealing the ‘full content’ of the ‘five-page letter’ was intentionally misleading and dishonest.”

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The Duchess’s lawyers say the bathtub, the soundproofing, the yoga studio, the guest room and the tennis court simply do not exist

— Prof. Cathcart

Elsewhere, it adds: “The fact that it chose to publish parts of the Letter, while dishonestly claiming that it was publishing its ‘full contents’, and deliberately omitted or suppressed other parts in order to portray a false picture, is relevant not only as a factor relating to the content, form and manner in which the information was published, but also a seriously aggravating feature in the Defendant’s unlawful conduct in publishing any of its contents.”

The Duchess’s lawyers also hit out at the Mail on Sunday for trying to misapply the law in an effort to draw comment on the parts of the letter it did not publish as a fresh attempt to invade her private and family life.

Screenshot 2019-11-15 at 18.54.18.png

The ‘Part 18’ response, which also puts the paper’s “methods” in tracking down Thomas Markle to his Mexico home under the legal spotlight, stated: “The Claimant is not prepared to allow this request to be used by the Defendant as a vehicle for intruding further into her privacy.”

Despite the paper’s claims of a family rift, the Duchess is also stressing that her issue is with the Sunday tabloid, NOT Thomas Markle.

The document says: “The Claimant’s claim is against the Defendant for its unlawful disclosure of the Letter and infringement of copyright, and not against her father.”

It adds that in its articles about the letter, the MoS “falsely” claimed Thomas Markle phoned the Duchess to say he could not come to her wedding for health reasons; that she “did not ask about her father’s welfare” after a heart attack; “failed to provide financial support” for him; didn’t “reach out” to him before her wedding, and continued to “ignore” him once wed.

The document adds: “The true position is that the Claimant has a long history of looking after her father’s welfare and trying to find solutions to any health problems… she did provide extensive financial support for him, as well as act as primary caregiver for her grandmother… her father did not telephone her to explain that he was not coming to her wedding… her team in Los Angeles did provide him with continued support for which he had expressed gratitude… she had reached out to him prior to the wedding and sought to protect him, as well as to ensure that he would be able to come to the wedding… she did not ignore him afterwards.”

The Duchess then went on to set out a string of other articles that are allegedly littered with misinformation, details of which Byline Investigates is publishing today.

Commentator: Professor Brian Cathcart says the Duchess’s case rides a ‘Royal coach and horses’ through  Mail Group’ s journalism
Commentator: Professor Brian Cathcart says the Duchess’s case rides a ‘Royal coach and horses’ through Mail Group’s journalism

Professor Cathcart added: “The Duchess’s lawyers say the bathtub, the soundproofing, the yoga studio, the guest room and the tennis court simply do not exist.

“They also list other hateful and harmful articles and these too are denied in detail and in the most forthright terms.

“Make no mistake, the royal couple are accusing the Mail and the Mail on Sunday of industrial-scale fabrication.

“These are the most categorical denials possible. Again and again the document says ‘which does not exist and is completely untrue’.

“There is not an inch of wiggle room there and it is now up to the Mail papers to defend themselves.”

He added: “If the Mail papers can’t show that they had credible, verified grounds for publishing these allegations, then their editors should resign. There can be no defence for a national newspaper waging a war of falsehood of this kind.

“If anyone was in any doubt that the Mail papers are waging a campaign of hatred against the Duchess of Sussex this document will convince them – and every one of these claims is now denied.”

Associated Newspapers has yet to file a defence to the claim, but is denying any misuse of private information, breach of copyright, or data protection infringement.

Screenshot 2019-11-15 at 17.55.41.png

What the Mail titles wrote:
1.
“Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?”

What the Duchess’s lawyers say:
“The statement that the Claimant lived or grew up in Compton (or anywhere near to it) is false. The fact that the Defendant chose to stereotype this entire community as being “plagued by crime and riddled with street gangs” and thereby suggest (in the first few days of her relationship being revealed) that the Claimant came from a crime- ridden neighbourhood is completely untrue as well as intended to be divisive.
“The Claimant will also refer to the fact that the article cites her aunt as living in “gang-afflicted Inglewood” in order to bolster this negative and damaging impression of where this (black) side of her family is said to come from.
“In fact, Ava Burrow (said to be “the actress’ aunt”) is not her Aunt or any blood relation at all, a fact which if correctly stated would have undermined the narrative which the Defendant was intended to convey.”


 What the Mail titles wrote:
2.
“Kitchen supported by Meghan’s cookbook is housed inside mosque ‘which has links to 19 terror suspects including Jihadi John’.”

What the Duchess’s lawyers say:
“The connection made between the Hubb Community Kitchen (in which the Claimant worked with those affected by the Grenfell tragedy as part of a cookbook project which became a New York Times best-selling book) and the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre (supposedly “linked to 19 Islamic extremists”) is at best a highly tenuous and deliberately inflammatory one.
“The characterisation of these victims as being linked to terrorism in the same way as the Claimant is said to be supporting or endorsing jihadi terrorists through her participation in a cookbook for victims of Grenfell, is as false as it is offensive.”


What the Mail titles wrote:
3.
“How Meghan Markle’s Australian aide Samantha ‘the Panther’ Cohen rose from a Brisbane home to Buckingham Palace – before becoming the second aide to walk out on the ‘difficult Duchess”

What the Duchess’s lawyers say:
“The suggestion that Samantha Cohen (who was private secretary for both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) walked out on the Claimant or that she did so because the Claimant was “difficult” to work for (a word used six times in this article) is untrue, as well as damaging.
“Ms Cohen, who was a highly respected and dedicated member of Her Majesty the Queen’s staff for sixteen years, personally chose to come out of retirement in order to work for the Claimant.
“Far from walking out on her, Ms Cohen even extended the original year which she had intended to work for as she wanted to carry on helping the Duke and Duchess with their office.
“Further, the Claimant’s “personal assistant” was in fact assistant to both the Duke and Duchess, and, contrary to what the Defendant stated in the article, she did not ‘quit’.”


What the Mail titles wrote:
4.
“How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack – beloved of all millennials – is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.”

What the Duchess’s lawyers say:
“The connection made between the fact that the Claimant likes eating avocado and made avocado on toast for a friend who visited her with human rights abuses, murder and environmental devastation is another highly tenuous and deliberately inflammatory one.
“The suggestion that by liking avocados she is fuelling or supporting these extreme occurrences, and therefore is disingenuous about her “campaigning for racial equality and female empowerment”, is again as absurd as it is offensive.”


What the Mail titles wrote:
5.
“Doria Ragland spotted alone in LA while daughter Meghan Markle parties with famous friends at her $300k baby shower.”

What the Duchess’s lawyers say:
“The suggestion that the Claimant deliberately left out her mother from her baby shower and ditched her in favour of her famous friends is untrue and offensive to her.
“The Claimant’s mother was of course invited, and the Claimant also offered to buy her airline tickets. However, her mother was unable to attend due to work commitments.
“It was also untrue and offensive to suggest, as the article does, that ‘not a single guest had known [the Claimant] for more than a decade’.
“In fact, the true position was that the baby shower (which actually cost a tiny fraction of the $300k falsely stated in the article) was organised and hosted by one of her best friends from university; the fifteen guests who attended the shower were close friends and included long-term friendships some of which had existed for over 20 years.”


Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess’s home, near Windsor, seen by satellite. (c) Google Maps
Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess’s home, near Windsor, seen by satellite. (c) Google Maps

THE 15-PAGE document goes on to attack coverage of the ‘renovation’ of Frogmore Cottage, the Sussex’s marital home, as “made up”, “false”, and “misleading”.

It states: “The clear intention was to portray the Claimant in a damaging light by suggesting that she had indulged in this series of absurdly lavish renovations, which were in fact false (as the Defendant was informed at the time) and entirely made up.

“Furthermore, the Defendant sought to portray these renovations as being done at ‘the taxpayer’s expense’, costing ‘£2.4m of YOUR cash’.

“This was also false and misleading. In fact, the Cottage is a grade 2-listed 17th century residence, which was already undergoing much-needed renovation for safety, and its refurbishment back to its original state as a single family home was funded by Her Majesty the Queen, as part of her obligation and responsibility to maintain or refurbish the upkeep of buildings of historical significance through a portion of the sovereign grant, made in exchange for the revenue from her Crown Estate (which is several times the amount of the sovereign grant).”


Fact and fiction, more questionable claims by the Mail Group… and the reality

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess “splashed out £5,000” on a copper bathtub.
The truth: No such bath exists.

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess “forked out £500k” on soundproofing to block out the noise of planes.
The truth: No such soundproofing exists.

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess installed a “yoga studio”.
The truth: There is no yoga studio.

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess built an “orangery”.
The truth: No such orangery exists.

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess built a tennis court.
The truth: They did not build a tennis court.

·      The claim: The Duke and Duchess built a “guest wing” for her mother to stay in when she visited.
The truth: This does not exist – and the claim is completely untrue.

The case continues…


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