MEGHAN Markle's half-sister has hit out at the royal's "grandiose" image – as the duchess faces a week of bombshell courtroom drama.

Samantha Markle told of her fury after she discovered Meghan said in an email that she had "lost custody of all three of her children from different fathers".

The note to her former aide Jason Knauf emerged amid a legal battle with the Mail on Sunday.

Samantha, who has been estranged from Meghan for years, said the "hurtful" claim is "revealing".

Samantha 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, Meghan'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.”

Samantha said her father Thomas is now coming to terms with the fact that Meghan actively briefed against him – even though he had initially wanted to give her "the benefit of the doubt".

Mr Knauf's evidence includes messages from the duchess to say she had supported her dad "in spite of his reclusiveness", but that media pressure had "crumbled him".

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“To see her nonchalantly say that she wants to see this added and that added, like items on a lunch menu was astonishing,” Samantha 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."

In a series of tweets about the court revelations, Samantha suggested that their father should sue Meghan – and that she herself was searching for a lawyer.

Meghan was forced to apologise after a series of emails were disclosed that prove she had collaborated with the authors of a sympathetic biography.

She and Harry previously said they had nothing to do with the writing of Finding Freedom – a claim backed up by authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.

Last year, the Sussexes even released a statement saying they "were not interviewed and did not contribute" to the book.

However, it's now emerged that she authorised Mr Knauf to speak with Scobie and Durand on her behalf.

Among the notes she sent to her former communications secretary were several details about Miss Markle and her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr.

It comes as:

  • Mr Knauf broke ranks to reveal bombshell texts and emails from Meghan just weeks after her devastating Oprah interview aired
  • An expert says 'furious' Harry 'will blame everyone else' after the documents threatened his wife's credibility
  • Piers Morgan says he 'doesn't believe a word' Meghan says
  • The duchess was forced to apologise to the Court of Appeal after 'forgetting' she'd heavily briefed Mr Knauf for Finding Freedom
  • And she carefully crafted a letter to her father over several days amid fears it would leak – even deliberately calling him 'Daddy'

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".

Initially, Mr Knauf repeatedly refused to help the Mail on Sunday in its bitter legal battle with the Duchess of Sussex – insisting he wanted to stay “neutral”.

Meghan won her privacy battle against the paper's publisher in February.

However, at some point following claims Meghan had bullied staff – accusations the Sussexes vehemently deny – as well as their March interview with Oprah, he changed his mind.

And as the newspaper launched an appeal, Mr Knauf broke ranks to reveal details of emails she'd sent directly to him.

He set out how Harry and Meghan had authorised cooperation with Scobie and Durand.

He also said the couple had invited him to tell the writers of Samantha: “She had lost custody of all three of her three children from different fathers.”

Timeline of events

May 19, 2018 – Thomas Markle is unable to attend Meghan and Harry's Windsor wedding after suffering heart problems

August 22, 2018 – After Mr Markle gives the media a series of interviews, Meghan texts her then-communications secretary Jason Knauf to say she'd decided to write a letter to her father. In the message, she said she hoped the communication "might convince him to stop giving interviews, but that could also set the record straight if he gave [it] to the media”

August 24, 2018: Meghan said to Mr Knauf of the letter: "If he leaks it, then that's on his conscious [sic] but at least the world will know the truth. Words I could never say publicly." The letter is sent

November 12, 2018: The duchess emailed Mr Knauf to say she wanted to discuss a book being written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

December 10, 2018: She then emailed Mr Knauf detailing 32 separate points on which she wants him to brief the authors of the book. They include 'M’s charity work behind the scenes' and the fact that Samantha, her half-sister, “lost custody of all three of her children from different fathers”

December 12, 2018: Mr Knauf had a two-hour briefing with Scobie and Durand

February 10, 2019: The Mail on Sunday publishes articles which quote from the Duchess’s letter to her father. The Duchess claims her privacy has been breached

October 2, 2019: The Duchess launches legal action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of Mail on Sunday

September 29, 2020: A statement provided to the court by Meghan's legal team, and approved by her, states that: “[The Duchess] does not know if, and to what extent, the communications team were involved in providing information for the book"

February 11, 2021: Meghan wins her case and Associated Newspapers launch an appeal

October 13, 2021: A fresh witness statement is submitted to the court by the Duchess, in which she states: “I accept that Mr Knauf did provide some information to the authors for the book and that he did so with my knowledge… I apologise to the court… I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court"

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