Meghan Markle judge dismisses ‘stressed’ dad Thomas’ fears he will die before her privacy trial as he agrees delay

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THE judge for Meghan Markle’s case today dismissed her “stressed” dad Thomas’ fears he will die before the trial comes to court.

It comes after she won a bid to delay the privacy court battle for almost a year over a “confidential” matter.

Meghan’s team successfully applied to delay the trial
Thomas Markle has told of his health concerns over the delay

Thomas wants to have his say in court and respond to Meghan’s claims

The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for releasing a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

Today Mr Justice Warby delivered his reasons for agreeing to delay proceedings in a largely redacted document, despite her dad warning “I could die tomorrow”.

The judgment, released this morning, cited 76-year-old Thomas’ poor health, describing him as “elderly and not in the best of health”.

But despite noting Meghan’s dad is “finding the process stressful”, the judge said: “Mr Markle’s subjective thoughts and feeling do seem to be, on any objective view, a relatively minor aspect of the case overall”.

Thomas has not been told the reason for the nine-month delay, requested by Meghan’s team, and is reportedly concerned about the wait.

In a previous statement to the court, the dad had said he wanted his chance to hit back on Meghan’s claims his version of events are false.

He told of health worries, saying: “I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case takes place the better.”

“Elderly and sick” Thomas, currently living in Mexico, claimed he struggles to walk 40 steps without getting out of breath.

He said he was pre-diabetic and clinically obese, having gained more weight during the coronavirus lockdown.

The ruling noted Thomas has been identified as a potential witness for ANL and considers the importance of his evidence.

Mr Justice Warby concluded: “It is not suggested that Mr Markle’s evidence on those topics is an essential component of the defence case.”

A ten-day trial was set to take place in London on January 11 next year, with Meghan, 39, possibly expected to give evidence in the witness box.

But last month Mr Justice Warby considered the request, made behind closed doors, and granted a delay until autumn next year – adding the reasoning was “confidential”. 

He also granted Meghan’s request to apply for a summary judgment in the new year – meaning, if successful, she and her dad would not have to testify in public and the judge would decide the outcome behind closed doors.

Meghan’s lawyers had also applied to appeal the judge’s decision that saw the explosive biography Finding Freedom to be included by the defence in the trial. But Mr Justice Warby refused this.

The Mail on Sunday had been permitted to amend its defence that the Sussexes “co-operated” with the authors of the biography.

Finding Freedom is a tell-all about the Sussexes experience when they quit as senior royals in what become dubbed Megxit.

Earlier this year Meghan lost a court battle to block claims she allegedly co-operated with the authors of the book.

Last month 76-year-old Thomas said he wanted to get the trial done “as quickly as possible” due to his ailing health – and was planning to travel to London for the High Court showdown.

In a statement to the court in October, the dad said none of his male relatives had ever lived beyond 80 years of age, saying: “I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case takes place the better.”

The “elderly and sick” man, who currently lives in Mexico, also detailed his health concerns including struggling to walk 40 steps without getting out of breath.

Associated say she wrote the letter knowing it would get into the public domain.

She denies it and is suing for invasion of privacy, copyright infringement and data protection rights.

Meghan Markle allegedly had help writing a 'private' letter to her dad

The Duchess of Sussex is fighting against the Mail on Sunday
The book is said to explain the reasons behind their split from the Royal Family
The book is said to explain the reasons behind their split from the Royal Family
Fury over the series has raised fresh questions over why Meghan and Harry are proceeding with their £112m deal to produce shows for Netflix
Harry, Meghan and Archie live in the US now after stepping down as senior royals

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