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U.K. judge rules that newspaper invaded privacy of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in 2020
Associated Newspapers misused Meghan’s private information in five 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website, a British judge ruled Thursday.
(Simon Dawson / Associated Press)

A British judge ruled Thursday that a newspaper invaded the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy by publishing personal letter to her estranged father.

Judge Mark Warby said Associated Newspapers misused the duchess’ private information in five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website, which published portions of a handwritten letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry.

The judge said the duchess “had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private. The Mail articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”

The ruling is a major victory for Meghan, who sued the publisher for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement

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Britain’s Prince Harry is suing the Mail on Sunday and its parent company over the publication of Meghan Markle’s private letter to her estranged father.

Associated Newspapers contested the claim, and a trial was scheduled for the fall. The duchess asked for a summary judgment to settle the case without a trial.

At a hearing last month, Meghan’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case.

Meghan’s lawyers say the “deeply personal” five-page letter was intended for her father alone.

But the defense argued Meghan wrote the letter as part of a media strategy to rebut a negative view conveyed by her father, and with help from the communications team in the royal couple’s Kensington Palace office.

Thursday’s ruling means Meghan has won her case on privacy grounds, but the judge said a “limited trial” should be held to decide some of the copyright issues.

Prince Harry says it took him many years and marriage to former actress Meghan Markle to understand the extent of his privileged upbringing.

Meghan, an American actress and former star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were stepping back from royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara.


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