Meghan Markle wins claim against newspaper over publishing of father’s letter

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Meghan Markle has won her High Court privacy claim over the publication of a "personal and private" letter to her estranged father.

The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline – over articles featuring parts of a handwritten letter sent to 76-year-old Thomas Markle in August 2018.

Her lawyers had argued last month that ANL has "no prospect" of defending her claim for misuse of private information and breach of copyright.

They asked the High Court to grant "summary judgment" in relation to those claims, a legal step which would see those parts of the case resolved without a trial.

Mr Justice Warby ruled in Meghan's favour on Thursday, granted "summary judgment" in her claim for misuse of private information.

The judge said: "The claimant had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private.

"The Mail articles interfered with that reasonable expectation."

The Duchess has been seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act over five articles, published in February 2019, which included extracts from the "private and confidential" letter to her father.

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Her husband Prince Harry later went on to launch his own legal action against the same newspaper over claims, later retracted by the publisher, that the Royal had had no contact with the Royal Marines since standing down as working royal.

ANL's lawyers had previously claimed at an earlier High Court hearing that the letter was written "to defend her against charges of being an uncaring or unloving daughter".

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But Meghan's lawyers say that ANL's publication was a triple-whammy invasion of a "private, personal and sensitive" letter.

In the previous two-day hearing held last month, the Duchess’s lawyers argued there was “no real prospect” of the newspaper winning the case and said it should be resolved without a trial.

Meanwhile, ANL's barrister Antony White QC argued that there is a "very real question" whether Meghan will be able to prove that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Mr White referred to the involvement of the Kensington Palace communications team before the letter was sent, saying: "No truly private letter from daughter to father would require any input from the Kensington Palace communications team."

Justin Rushbrooke QC, representing Meghan, has previously described the letter as "a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father", which was sent to Mr Markle in Mexico.

  • Meghan Markle
  • Prince Harry
  • Royal Family

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