Meghan’s dad says he ‘may die tomorrow and privacy case is causing him anxiety’

Meghan Markle's dad fears he may "die tomorrow" and says her privacy trial against The Mail on Sunday over publishing a handwritten letter she sent to him is causing him "anxiety".

The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), the publisher of the newspaper and sister website MailOnline, over an article which reproduced parts of the letter sent to Thomas Markle, 76, in August 2018.

The trial has now been put back until autumn 2021 following a private High Court hearing heard by Mr Justice Warby.

The judge said the private hearing was necessary to protect "the confidentiality of the information relied on" by Meghan in her application to postpone the trial.

The confidential information was said to be the "primary" reason for the duchess wanting the trial to be adjourned and her application was not apposed by ANL.

However, ANL's lawyers did ask the judge to consider Mr Markle's situation, saying he is "elderly and sick" and wants to give evidence at the eventual trial.

A witness statement read in court provided a summary of what Mr Markle had told ANL's group editorial legal director Liz Hartley.

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He said: "This case is causing me anxiety and I want to get it over with as quickly as possible.

"None of my 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.

Ms Hartley said that Mr Markle had contacted The Mail On Sunday because he "considered that he had a right to tell his side of the story following publication of what he considered to be a misleading article in People magazine".

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She added: "He continues to feel that he has been misrepresented and that the claimant should not be pursuing this claim.

"He is anxious that he should have his day in court so that he can tell the truth in public, have his evidence tested under cross-examination and defend himself against the suggestion that he breached the claimant's privacy without any reasonable justification.

"Despite his state of health, Mr Markle was and is planning to travel to London to give evidence in person and I can confirm that his intention to give evidence is as firm as it has always been."

Mr Markle reeled off a litany of health problems.

He explained that he is on blood thinners as a result of his heart condition and subsequent surgery.

Meghan's dad also said that he struggles to walk up stairs or to take more than 30 or 40 steps without getting winded, adding that he is "clinically obese".

Mr Markle added: "I don't know what the position will be in several months' time."

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