On Thursday, the Duchess of Sussex’s half-sister accused her of falsely briefing that she had lost custody of her three children.
Samantha Markle, from whom the Duchess has been estranged for several years, hit back at the “PR smears” and attacked the “grandiose” image she had created of herself.
It emerged on Wednesday that the Duchess had authorised a senior aide to speak to the authors of a biography about her family.
She apologised to the Court of Appeal after a series of emails were disclosed which appeared to contradict her previous claim that she had not collaborated with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, co-authors of Finding Freedom.
Amid the notes she sent to Jason Knauf, her former communications secretary, were several details about Miss Markle and her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr, as the Duchess sought to distance herself from her biological family.
She urged Mr Knauf to disclose that her siblings had “dropped out of high school” and that she had “never had a relationship with either of them,” or even known their birthdays or middle names.
Of Samantha, she said: “She had lost custody of all three of her three children from different fathers.”
Miss Markle said the use of Finding Freedom to “take pot shots” was “hurtful and revealing”.
Timeline of events
She told The Telegraph: “To see Jason Knauf’s evidence was shocking. I never lost custody of my kids… no court record on the planet would confirm that.
“To take personal matters and then spin them in an ugly way to discredit me is pretty tacky.
“Everyone, even Trevor (Engelson, the Duchess’s first husband), who has been good to her – she has a disgusting way of disposing, stepping on and then silencing.
“The public will form an appropriate opinion of her based on her own actions. People do not like to be lied to and manipulated.
“She’s going to have to live with that. She’s so grandiose, she self sabotaged.”
Miss Markle claimed that the Duchess had constructed an image of herself in order to fit in with the Royal family and that she had distanced herself from her father and siblings in order to maintain the facade.
She said that she and her father, Thomas Markle, who has also been shut out by the Duchess, had wanted to give the Duchess “the benefit of the doubt” but were now having to come to terms with the fact that she had actively briefed against them.
In her emails to Mr Knauf, the Duchess said she had supported her father “in spite of his reclusiveness” but that media pressure had “crumbled him”.
She added: “Despite countless efforts to support him through the past two years, they now no longer have a relationship.”
The Duchess, as a baby, is held by her half-brother in a family photo
Miss Markle, who has written a book about her frosty relationship with her sister called The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister Part I, said a part of her could not believe that the Duchess had been “the driving force” behind the biography all along.
“To see her nonchalantly say that she wants to see this added and that added, like items on a lunch menu was astonishing,” she said.
“She’s got an appetite for her own sense of empowerment by doing damage to others.
“My father didn’t want to believe that this smear campaign was all against him, designed to take away his credibility.
“We are victims of a narcissist and narcissists are manipulators who are into domination and control. We are both coming to terms that the denial is over, we have reached acceptance,” she said.
In a series of tweets about the court revelations, Miss Markle suggested that their father should sue the Duchess for “entrapment, elder abuse, defamation” and added that “she doesn’t deserve to have a father”.
She claimed that her sister was “just devoid of a soul,” adding: “Spiders don’t foresee getting caught in their own webs.”
The Duchess’s contact with the authors of Finding Freedom became pertinent when she sued The Mail on Sunday, which had published a letter she wrote in 2018 to her estranged father.
The High Court ruled in February that her privacy had been breached but the newspaper is appealing the decision.
Should the appeal prove successful, the case will go to trial, potentially pitting father against daughter in the witness stand.