THOMAS Markle has vowed to "tell the truth" about Meghan Markle in court and is "anxious" to have his day to defend himself, it was revealed today.
The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for releasing a letter she wrote to her estranged dad.
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The former actress today won her bid to delay the January trial – with it now expected to be held in autumn next year.
But in a statement, her 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.
He 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.
It was revealed today that:
- Meghan Markle's privacy battle won't go to trial in January and has instead been adjourned to autumn next year
- Mr Justice Warby said the 'primary basis' on which the adjournment was sought was 'confidential'
- A hearing was held behind closed doors before the judge revealed his decision
- Her lawyers' application to appeal the judge's decision to allow the Mail on Sunday to use Finding Freedom as part of their defence was denied
- Meghan has been given permission to apply for a summary judgment in January
- Thomas Markle said he could 'die tomorrow' as he begged the court to reject Meghan's bid to delay the trial
- The 39-year-old's estranged dad said he has anxiety around the case but has vowed to tell the truth
Thomas has agreed to be a witness for the newspaper in the showdown against his daughter – previously vowing "everything will come out".
In a statement, the court was told Mr Markle "might not be in a position to give evidence" at the adjourned trial due to the heightened health risks due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ANL's lawyer Elizabeth Hartley said: "He continues to feel that he has been misrepresented and that the Claimant (Meghan) should not be pursuing this claim.
"He is anxious to have his day in court so that he can tell the truth in public."
Thomas Markle’s statement
This case is causing me anxiety and I want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
I am 76-years-old and as a result of my heart condition and surgery I am on blood thinners which have had an effect on my breathing. I am unable to walk far or up many stairs.
I can't manage to take more than 30 to 40 steps without getting winded and needing to slow down until I have caught my breath.
I have had a cold for 3 to 4 years which is connected to my heart and lung issues.
I am clinically obese and I have gained more weight during the past months before I have been unable to leave my house to take any exercise. I am pre-diabetic.
I don't know what the position will be in several months' time. I have not been back to Chula Vista hospital and although I see a local doctor and I am willing to see a doctor to have my heart and lungs checked, I do not want to know whether I now have cancer or any other serious conditions.
None of my male relatives has ever lived beyond 80 years of age.
I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case takes place the better.
Thomas Markle's ailments:
- Clinically obese
- A cold for three to four years
- Heart condition
- On blood thinners due to surgery
- Worried he might have cancer
A ten-day trial was set to take place in London on January 11 next year, with 39-year-old Meghan possibly expected to give evidence in the witness box.
However, it was revealed yesterday that the former actress had submitted an application asking for the case to be adjourned.
Mr Justice Warby today said he had considered the application and granted the delay until autumn next year – adding the "primary basis" on which the adjournment was sought was "confidential".
He said: "The right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application to adjourn.
"That means that the trial date of January 11 2021 will be vacated and the trial will be refixed for a new date in the autumn."
Meghan's lawyers also applied to appeal the judge's decision that saw the explosive biography Finding Freedom to be included by the defence in the trial.
However Mr Justice Warby today refused the application.
The Duchess is seeking damages from the Mail on Sunday for alleged misuse of private information, breaching the Data Protection Act and infringement of copyright over five articles published in February 2019 which included extracts from the "private and confidential" letter to her father.
Publisher Associated Newspapers claimed Prince Harry's wife had herself leaked details of the letter to the media through friends.
The publisher argued that Meghan was "pleased" when five friends spoke up to defend her in an interview with People Magazine, which mentioned the letter.
Meghan’s lawyers have fiercely denied she collaborated with the authors – even calling the stories in Finding Freedom “extremely anodyne, the product of creative licence and/or inaccurate” in a bid to distance her from it.
Author Omid Scobie claimed in his witness statement it was "false" to suggest Harry or Meghan collaborated on Finding Freedom.
Meghan, who is currently living in the US with Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie, is suing ANL over five articles in total, two in the MoS and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019, and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.
ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.
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