Watch CBS News

Meghan apologizes to court, claims no "intention to mislead" over conversations that could impact legal battle with U.K. tabloid

London — Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made an appearance in honor of U.S. veterans on Wednesday, attending the Salute to Freedom Gala in New York. Their appearance came as the Duchess remains locked in a legal dispute with the publisher of a U.K. tabloid, the Mail on Sunday. Meghan has now apologized for forgetting conversations she had with an aide that could now be used against her in the case, though she insists she had no "intention to mislead" the court. 

As CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports, Meghan sued the Mail's publisher, Associated Newspapers Ltd., after the tabloid published parts of a handwritten letter that Meghan sent to her father in 2018. Her lawyers called it a "heartfelt plea" in which she begged Thomas Markle to stop talking to the media. He gave excerpts of the letter to the tabloid.

A ruling in February found the paper in breach of the duchess's privacy and copyright, but Associated Newspapers has appealed, challenging that verdict.

In its appeal, Associated Newspapers said it had evidence from Meghan's former communications secretary Jason Knauf, who claims the duchess knew that her father could make the letter public. Knauf alleges that Meghan told him: "Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice."

In a written statement to the court, Meghan had denied that she thought her father would leak the letter.

She has now apologized, however, for misleading the court and for not remembering, she claims, that Knauf had provided information to the authors of "Finding Freedom," a book about her and Prince Harry, with her consent.

"I accept that Mr Knauf did provide some information to the authors for the book and that he did so with my knowledge, for a meeting that he planned for with the authors in his capacity as communications secretary. The extent of the information he shared is unknown to me," Meghan says in the statement. "When I approved the passage … I did not have the benefit of seeing these emails and I apologize to the court for the fact that I had not remembered these exchanges at the time. I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make philanthropic visit to New York City 02:22

The new information could now be used against her in her battle with Associated Newspapers, media law expert Mark Stephens told CBS News. 

"If this letter was written deliberately for the purpose of being leaked, and also expecting it to be leaked, there is a question as to whether or not this letter was truly private," he said. "The newspaper's lawyers are saying this letter was part of the wider PR campaign, as was as the book." 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.