Meghan Markle is taking the crown in her enduring feud with Associated Newspaper, the British publisher of the Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, and MailOnline. An appeals court has rejected a bid from Mail on Sunday to force a trial over Markle’s claim that its publishing of a letter to her father was a violation of privacy. In 2018, the Duchess of Sussex sent her estranged father Thomas Markle, 77, a handwritten letter, writing that he broke her heart into a “million pieces” by talking to press.
After three years, Meghan Markle has now won the legal battle against the British tabloid, according to the New York Times. The three judges of the appeals court agreed with the judgment of a High Court judge in February, deciding that the case did not require a trial. The court declared that the publication of the private letter was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful” and Markle had a “reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private.” The ruling from the appeals court will spare Markle from potentially testifying against her father in a sensational trial. The duchess had a falling out with her father, a retired Hollywood lighting designer, years before her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.
Mail on Sunday acquired the letter and published excerpts in February 2019. In October of the same year, the Duchess filed a lawsuit against Mail on Sunday and its parent company over the publication of the private letter. Her husband, Prince Harry, announced the lawsuit in a statement at the time, writing, “I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long.”
Meghan Markle made a statement shortly after the court’s decision was made, expressing her relief. “In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks,” she wrote. “The courts have held the defendant to account, and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not. Tomorrow it could be you.”
Update December 26: Meghan Markle has received her court-mandated apology on the pages of Mail on Sunday and Mail Online. The apology, with wording agreed upon legally, was printed on page 3 of the paper and will run on the front page of the Mail Online’s website for the next week, per Buzzfeed News. You do have to scroll a bit to find it, as noted by The Guardian’s Jim Waterhouse.