Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s most senior royal aide fact-checked the book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family to “make sure” authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand “got nothing wrong,” a senior editor at the Mail on Sunday claimed Wednesday in testimony released by the High Court in London.
Harry and Meghan have consistently denied they co-operated with Scobie and Durand either directly or indirectly, leaving many observers to wonder why the couple did not complain about the book’s multiple apparent invasions of their privacy.
However, in a witness statement released today, Mail on Sunday editor Ted Verity claimed that Sara Latham, a former adviser to the Clintons who headed up Harry and Meghan’s PR operations and now works for the queen, “assisted the authors of ‘Finding Freedom’ by performing a role that was essentially fact-checking.”
Meghan is seeking a so-called “summary judgment” in her high profile privacy and copyright action against Associated Newspapers (ANL), the parent company of the Mail on Sunday, triggered by the 2019 publication in the Mail on Sunday of sections of a letter she sent to her estranged father.
If successful, a summary judgment in Meghan’s favor would end much of the case without a full trial. Buckingham Palace is thought to be keen for Meghan to find a way to avoid being the first senior royal in living memory to undergo a grueling and potentially embarrassing cross-examination of her personal life in the witness box.
The new legal effort has seen multiple written witness statements unsealed in London’s High Court Tuesday and Wednesday, including one by Meghan’s dad Thomas Markle, in which he said he believed his daughter “expressly authorized” or at least “approved” an article in People magazine about him that was “a total lie,” and which portrayed him as “dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted.”
The issue of whether or not the Sussexes assisted the authors of Finding Freedom has come to be a pivotal issue of the trial. Scobie claimed in his own witness statement that it was “false” to suggest Harry and Meghan collaborated with him and Durand on the book and insisted the information he used came from “over 100” friends and sources.
However, Verity claimed in his witness statement that he had, within the last three months, had a meeting with “a senior member of the royal household” whom he said “had direct knowledge of the matters they told me about” and that he had “absolutely no reason to think the source was being anything other than completely truthful.”
Verity said the source was “fully aware of the matters in dispute in these proceedings and how important they were to me and the company I work for. This was not gossip or tittle-tattle: it was what I considered to be high-grade information from a serious individual in a position of authority and responsibility who knew the implications of what they were telling me.”
Verity said the source told him that “Sara Latham, who worked as a communications professional for the Claimant and her husband, assisted the authors of Finding Freedom by performing a role that was essentially fact-checking, to make sure the authors got nothing wrong.”
Verity’s source also claimed that Omid Scobie was given a copy of the controversial letter that Meghan wrote to her dad. However, Scobie, in his own witness statement, said this was not the case. The book only contained excerpts that had already appeared in the Mail on Sunday.
In a separate statement, Latham, along with three former employees of Harry and Meghan—Samantha Cohen, Christian Jones, and Jason Knauf—said through a solicitor that they would be willing to give evidence if asked.
Judgment is expected to be handed down at a later date.