MEGHAN Markle knew her "private" letter to her dad would leak and called him "daddy" so she could tug at the public's heartstrings, bombshell court papers reveal.
The Duchess of Sussex, 40, revealed in a text to her former private secretary Jason Knauf she had been "meticulous" in her wording in the letter, the documents say.
A witness statement from Mr Knauf claims Meghan messaged him 2018 with an electronic draft of the letter where she asked if anything stood out as a "liability".
The papers read: "She also asked a specific question regarding addressing Mr Markle as ‘Daddy’ in the letter, saying ‘given I’ve only ever called him daddy it may make sense to open as such (despite him being less than paternal), and in the unfortunate event that it leaked it would pull at the heartstrings."
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Meghan later text Mr Knauf again, saying: "Honestly Jason, I feel fantastic.
"Cathartic and real and honest and factual. And if he leaks it then that's on his conscience.
"And at least the world will know the truth, words I could never voice."
The court was also told she was "happy for the public to read" the letter she sent her dad if he leaked it.
The papers were revealed today at the High Court where the Mail on Sunday are appealing against Meghan's privacy win.
Meghan sensationally won the row in February after it published extracts of the handwritten note to her dad.
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She had claimed the articles in February 2019 misused her private information, infringed her copyright and breached the Data Protection Act.
The Mail on Sunday believes Meghan may not have been the only copyright owner of the letter as Mr Knauf was a co-author – meaning it belonged to the Crown.
He was confirmed in legal papers to have told Meghan to reference her estranged dad's ill-health in the "deeply personal" letter.
The court was told Meghan and Prince Harry's former press secretary claimed she did “cooperate” with the authors of Megxit book Finding Freedom — despite numerous denials.
His witness statement claims the couple authorised “specific cooperation” for certain topics for the explosive biography.
Mr Knauf also told how he met with Omid Scobie and Caroyln Durand to discuss the "briefing points" Meghan wanted him to share with the authors.
This included her "happiness about moving to Windsor" and details surrounding her wedding tiara.
Other topics highlighted in the witness statement include "information on how she had very minimal contact with her half-siblings throughout her childhood".
The papers also say she wanted Mr Knauf to discuss how she had been "close [for] most of her life" with her dad "in spite of his reclusiveness".
But Mr Knauf said as far as he knows neither Harry or Meghan met directly with the authors during his time as press secretary.
In his statement he said: “While the authors – both experienced Royal journalists involved in day-to-day reporting on the Royal Family – discussed it with me as part of normal contact with the Kensington Palace press office, the Duke and Duchess later authorised specific cooperation in writing in December 2018.
"In relation to the authors’ request to be put directly in touch with friends of the Duchess I advised that 'this was not a good idea' and that 'being able to say hand on heart that we did not facilitate access will be important.'
“I also told him that I would meet the authors that week to help with 'factual accuracy and context.'
“The Duke replied the same day saying: '…I totally agree that we have to be able to say we didn’t have anything to do with it. Equally, you giving the right context and background to them would help get some truths out there.
“The truth is v much needed and would be appreciated, especially around the Markle/wedding stuff but at the same time we can’t put them directly in touch with her friends.”
Mr Knauf also told how Harry messaged him to ask if he would give Scobie and Durand a "rough idea" of what Meghan had gone through over the past two years.
The message continued: "Media onslaught, cyber bullying on a different scale, puppeteering Thomas Markle etc etc etc.
“Even if they choose not to use it, they should hear what it was like from someone who was in the thick of it.
“So if you aren’t planning on telling them, can I ?!”
Meghan has always denied having anything to do with the book, with Scobie saying the claims are "false."
The aide, who now works for Prince William and Kate Middleton, is the staffer who reportedly submitted a bullying complaint in October 2018 to protect palace aides who were allegedly coming under pressure from Meghan.
The claims, which Meghan denies, are now being investigated by a third-party law firm drafted in by Buckingham Palace.
Lord Justice Warby ruled in February the publication of Meghan's letter to her father was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful".
The judge said: "It was, in short, a personal and private letter.
"The majority of what was published was about the claimant's own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father's behaviour, as she saw it, and the resulting rift between them.
"These are inherently private and personal matters."
Meghan was granted a summary judgment – meaning she won her privacy claim without a trial where she would have come face-to-face with her dad.
She also won most of her claim the publication of the letter breached her copyright.
Associated Newspapers Ltd were ordered to print a a statement on the front page of The Mail On Sunday and a notice on page three of the paper stating it "infringed her copyright" by publishing parts of the letter.
But a statement regarding Meghan's victory in her copyright claim has been put on hold while the publisher seeks permission to appeal.
At the original hearing, the court was told Meghan sent the letter to her estranged dad, 76, in August 2018.
She was said to have felt forced to write the "painful" letter after they reached "breaking point".
And her lawyer Justin Rushbrooke QC described the 1,250-word letter as "a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father".
Releasing a statement after her victory, the duchess said: "For today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won."
A spokesperson for ANL said they were "very surprised" by the ruling.
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