Meghan MarkleDuchess of Sussex, won most of his legal battle against a tabloid, after a judge ruled that printing extracts from a private letter that he wrote to his father was “manifestly excessive and therefore illegal“.
Meghan, 39, and the wife of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince Harry, had sued the Associated Newspapers publisher after the tabloid Mail on Sunday publish parts of the handwritten letter he sent to his estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
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Judge Mark Warby ruled that the articles violated his privacy, but said that some copyright issues in the letter should be resolved in court.
“The plaintiff had a reasonable expectation that the content of the letter would remain private. The Mail articles interfered with that expectation,” Warby said.
Meghan wrote the five-page letter to Markle after her relationship collapsed before her wedding to Harry in May 2018, which her father did not attend due to health problems and after admitting to posing for paparazzi photos.
The duchess said Thursday that the pain caused by the Mail on Sunday and its editor was very deep.
“I am grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday accountable for their illegal and dehumanizing practices,” Meghan said in a statement.
“Those tactics (and those of its sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they have been carried on for too long without consequences. The damage they have done and continue to do is very profound,” he added.
In two days of hearings last month, his lawyers said that printing the “personal and sensitive” letter was a triple attack on “his private life, his family’s life and his correspondence” and clearly violated his privacy.
The newspaper argued that the duchess had always intended for the content of the letter to be made public and that it was part of a media strategy, pointing out that she had admitted in court papers to having discussed the issue with her communications secretary.
The Mail, which published excerpts in February 2019, said it did so to allow Markle to respond to comments made by anonymous friends of Meghan in interviews with the American magazine People.
“In general, they didn’t serve that purpose at all,” Warby said. “Taking it as a whole, the disclosures were manifestly excessive and therefore illegal. There is no possibility that a different opinion will be reached after a trial,” he added.
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