ROYAL sources were "shocked" by Meghan Markle’s High Court privacy battle win which stopped palace aides from giving evidence in a trial, it’s reported.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, sued the Mail on Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd after they published the "heartfelt" handwritten letter to her dad Thomas Markle.
👑 Read our Meghan and Harry live blog for the latest news and gossip...Meghan Markle won her legal battle against the Mail on SundayCredit: Getty Images - Getty
A top judge at the High Court in London granted Meghan a "summary judgment", means the case was resolved without a trial.
One of the Mail on Sunday’s key arguments was the Duchess had written a letter knowing it would be made public.
Before the judgment, the court heard how Jason Knauf, who at the time was communications secretary to both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was said to have helped Meghan work on the letter to her dad.
Knauf, who is now the chief executive of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was known as one of the "Palace Four".
The Sunday Times reports they were ready to testify to make sure there was a "level playing field" in the case.
The other three aides in the Palace Four who worked for Meghan include private secretary Samantha Cohen, communication secretary Sara Latham and deputy communication secretary Christian Jones — who is now Prince William’s private secretary.
The newspaper understands as a "credible collective", they were keen to give their "recollection of events".
It’s like the judge decided the evidence was irrelevant
One royal source said "it’s like the judge decided the evidence was irrelevant", while another said they were "shocked" by the judgment.
In an earlier hearing a lawyer for Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), which owns the Mail on Sunday, Anthony White QC, said a letter from lawyers representing the Palace Four said they would be able to "shed some light" on “relevant matters” which included the creation of the letter and whether Meghan “anticipated that the letter might come into the public domain”.
He told the court it was also "likely" there was further evidence about whether Meghan "directly or indirectly provided private information" to the authors of Finding Freedom, a flattering portrayal of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The couple have denied any involvement with the book.
An Associated Newspapers source told the Sunday Times: “We are astonished that the judge doesn’t want to hear the evidence from the Palace Four when they say they are willing to give evidence and can shed light on the creation of the letter and whether she anticipated it would become public.”
An Associated Newspaper spokesman said the publisher was “carefully considering whether to appeal”.
In a statement released after the ruling, Meghan thanked her husband Prince Harry and mum Doria Ragland for their support.
She said: "For me and so many others, it's real life, real relationships and very real sadness.
"The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.
"But, for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won.
"I share this victory with each of you - because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.
"I particularly want to thank my husband, mom and legal team, and especially (her solicitor) Jenny Afia for her unrelenting support throughout this process."
Meghan also launched a stinging attack on the media, saying: "We all lose when misinformation sells more than the truth."
The judgment found the publication of the letter also infringed Meghan's copyright but added the issue of whether she was the 'sole author' of the letter should be determined at trial.
Meghan Markle wins High Court privacy case in blow to press freedom and won’t face father in court