The Sussexes’ former PR chief has rejected claims that he gave evidence against Meghan to a court ‘with the authority’ of Prince William.
Jason Knauf had worked as joint head of communications for both Harry and Meghan and the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
He subsequently made serious allegations about Meghan’s alleged bullying of junior staff before quitting and eventually becoming chief executive of William and Kate’s Royal Foundation, the charitable arm of their official operations. He left that role last year.
Much of the last episode of the Netflix documentary series is devoted to Meghan’s decision to take The Mail on Sunday, sister paper of the Daily Mail, to the High Court over its decision to publish a letter she had written to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The Sussexes’ former PR chief Jason Knauf has rejected claims that he gave evidence against Meghan to a court ‘with the authority’ of Prince William
The Duke of Sussex has accused his brother, both pictured during an unveiling of a statue to their mother Diana, of screaming at him while discussing Megxit. Harry also spoke about their heartbreaking rift
During the newspaper’s appeal against summary judgment in the case, which was awarded to the duchess, new evidence from Mr Knauf came to light over Meghan’s earlier claim in court documents that she did not know if, and to what extent, her communications team had also co-operated with the authors of Finding Freedom, a flattering biography about her and Harry.
He disclosed that he had provided information to the writers ‘with her knowledge’, and had emails to prove it.
Meghan was forced to apologise to the court – but said she had no intent to mislead it and had simply ‘not remembered’ the relevant exchanges at the time.
The Court of Appeal judge who dismissed the newspaper’s appeal described it as ‘at best, an unfortunate lapse of memory on her part’.
In the Netflix documentary, Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, goes so far as to suggest William would have given his authority for Mr Knauf to come forward in the case, saying: ‘A senior member of the Duke of Cambridge’s team came forward to give this witness statement which wasn’t required. And sadly there is just no way he could have done that without the authority of his bosses.’
Britain’s King Charles III reacts as he speaks with volunteers and members of staff as he has a cup of tea during a visit of London’s Community Kitchen facilities, in Harrow this afternoon. Both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have refused to comment on the Netflix series
Extraordinarily, Harry and Meghan are also filmed by the crew in a friend’s apartment in November 2021 at the very moment they discover that Mr Knauf’s evidence has been disclosed.
Meghan throws her hands up in frustration as she walks around and says: ‘How do we deal with that?… How on Earth?… Like… I… it’s your brother.’ Harry replies: ‘Yep.’ Meghan continues angrily: ‘It’s your brother, I’m not going to say anything about your brother, but it’s so obvious. It’s like…’
Harry interjects: ‘It’s even more that they’ll try and cover it up.
‘That’s why I am now living in a different country. Because all of the comms teams try to outdo each other. But this is the contract.’
The camera crew were even permitted to film the couple in the early hours of the morning waiting for the result of the appeal, and then victoriously calling their friends.
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Charles and Britain’s Camilla, Queen Consort unveil a commemorative plaque during a visit of London’s Community Kitchen facilities
Miss Afia goes on to claim that Mr Knauf’s witness statement ‘had no legal significance on the case whatsoever’ but was filed because ‘the impact on Meghan’s reputation was potentially damaging’. But a representative for Mr Knauf made clear yesterday that he had been a less-than-willing participant in the case, having been approached by both parties to give evidence, and only agreed to submit a statement to the court on legal advice.
They said: ‘These claims are entirely false. Mr Knauf was asked to provide evidence by both the Duchess of Sussex and Associated Newspapers.
‘He was advised by counsel that evidence in his possession could be relevant, and he then provided this directly to the court, staying neutral in the process.’
Meghan’s lawyer responded to the statement, saying they ‘disputed’ this claim and adding: ‘Mr Knauf was not asked to provide a witness statement by the Duchess of her team. Nor do her attorneys believe Mr Knauf remained “neutral” by submitting a witness statement relied on by Associated Newspapers whilst working for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.’
Mr Knauf then doubled down, with his representative saying: ‘The Duchess of Sussex and Jenny Afia contacted Mr Knauf in writing, asking him to assist in the preparation of their legal case.’