Meghan Markle ordered to hand over six months of private WhatsApp messages

Meghan Markle has been ordered to hand over six months' worth of private WhatsApp and FaceTime messages.

On Monday a London court set the date for the Duchess' lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday as January 11, meaning the case won't begin for another four months.

Meghan is suing the newspaper's parent company ANL for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy after the Mail printed portions of a letter she'd written her father Thomas Markle.

The Mail is now seeking to amend their defence after the publication of flattering biography Finding Freedom last month, with which Meghan and husband Prince Harry have strenuously denied they were involved.

During Monday's hearing, lawyers for the Mail alleged Meghan "breached her own privacy because she 'permitted' details about her life to be provided to the authors, including 'information about the letter'.

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A document presented to the court said: "'If C (Claimant i.e. Meghan) provided extensive co-operation to the authors and permitted a detailed account of her private life, relationships, thoughts and feelings to be published, including references to her relationship and communications with her father, it is difficult to see how she can complain that the Letter should not have been published because 'it contained the Claimant's deepest and most private thoughts and feelings'."

In making the case for the modified defence, the Mail's lawyers claimed Meghan wrote the letter "as part of a media strategy" and that she had allowed her personal information "to enter the public domain by means of the book".

Antony White, QC, representing the Mail, said in a submission that Finding Freedom gave "every appearance of having been written with their (Meghan and Harry's) extensive co-operation".

However, Justin Rushbrooke QC, acting for Meghan, dismissed the claims as "fantastical" and "a conspiracy theory".

"The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book," Mr Rushbrooke said in a written submission.

Finding Freedom co-author Omid Scobie provided a witness statement, stating that the couple "did not authorise the book and have never been interviewed for it".

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  • Presiding judge Master Francesca Kaye has reserved her judgement on the Mail's application for the modified defence.

    However, she has ruled that Meghan must submit "photos, FaceTime logs and WhatsApp messages" from a six-month period dating from February 10, 2019.

    It's another blow for Meghan after it was recently revealed she's sacked her lawyer, high-profile barrister David Sherborne who represented Johnny Depp in his defamation case against The Sun.

    In May she was ordered to pay £67,000 in legal costs to the Mail during the first pre-trial argument.

    Meghan is reportedly expected to give evidence in person rather than via video link when the trial finally begins in January next year.

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