Meghan Markle court case: judges to rule on Mail on Sunday appeal over letter

Judges are expected to give their ruling on Thursday on the publisher of The Mail on Sunday‘s appeal to overturn the Duchess of Sussex‘s victory in their privacy battle over a letter to her estranged father. 

Meghan, 40, sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to Thomas Markle, 77, in August 2018.

The judge ruled in February that the publication of Meghan’s letter to her father was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful” and in May, the Duchess was granted a summary judgment in relation to the remaining parts of her copyright claim, after lawyers acting on behalf of the Queen said it does not belong to the Crown.

ANL later brought an appeal against a High Court judge’s decision to grant Meghan summary judgment – meaning she won her case without a trial.

At the three-day hearing earlier this month, ANL argued the case should go to a trial after Jason Knauf, former communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, claimed in a witness statement that Meghan wrote the letter with the understanding that it could be leaked.

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The Duchess launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday in 2019

He said that she had sent him an early draft of the letter and that Meghan had written: “Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice, but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability.”

Meghan’s barristers argued that the letter was “deeply personal” and “self-evidently was intended to be kept private”.

In her written evidence, the Duchess denied she thought it likely that her father would leak the letter, but “merely recognised that this was a possibility”.

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