London: The estranged father of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle may be among the witnesses brought in by a UK newspaper fighting legal action launched by the former television star for alleged breach of privacy and copyright infringement.
The case, launched by Markle's legal team in October last year, centres around the publication in the 'Mail on Sunday' of extracts of a personal letter which she sent to her father in August 2018, three months after she married Prince Harry.
Her lawyers allege misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. "We have initiated legal proceedings against the 'Mail on Sunday', and its parent company Associated Newspapers, over the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by the Duchess of Sussex, which is part of a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her, as well as her husband," law firm Schillings said in its statement. "Given the refusal of Associated Newspapers to resolve this issue satisfactorily, we have issued proceedings to redress this breach of privacy, infringement of copyright and the aforementioned media agenda," the statement said.
As part of the official documents filed with the High Court in London on Tuesday, Associated Newspapers Ltd has defended the publication of the excerpts and includes evidence from Thomas Markle - who could also be called in to testify if the case goes on to trial.
"The claimant's (Meghan) privacy rights do not extend to silencing her father," the documents note.
Markle's father, a former Hollywood lighting director, was at the centre of controversy in the lead up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding in May 2018.
The court documents also include some text messages sent from Thomas to his daughter ahead of the wedding as part of the defence, which claim that he "did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so".
It remains to be seen if the case will go on to trial or be settled before that.
The developments in the legal case come as Prince Harry and Markle work through a transition period agreed with Queen Elizabeth II after they declared their intention to step back as senior Royals and divide their time between the UK and Canada.
Markle, who has been in Canada since last week, was pictured at her first public appearance there as she paid a visit to a women's centre in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The Downtown Eastside Women's Centre posted a photograph of a beaming 38-year-old Markle with staff and visitors on Facebook, with the caption "Look who we had tea with today".
Her visit was "to discuss issues affecting women in the community", the group said.
Prince Harry, 35, is expected to join Markle and their eight-month-old son Archie in Canada in the coming days after an official event he is scheduled to host at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.