Meghan Markle wins latest legal battle over publication of letter to father

MEGHAN Markle has won her latest legal battle over the publication of a letter to her father.

It comes after a High Court judge ruled a national paper breached her privacy when it printed extracts of a five-page letter she'd written to Thomas Markle.

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Today, it was confirmed that the Mail on Sunday has been ordered to publish a front-page apology to Meghan after her victory.

The statement must also run on MailOnline for a week.

Meghan has also demanded £1.5million in legal fees after a High Court judge ruled the paper breached her privacy when it printed extracts of a five-page letter she'd written to Thomas Markle.

At a remote hearing earlier this month, the Duchess' lawyers asked the court to order Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) – the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline – to hand over any copies of the letter to Mr Markle and destroy any electronic copies of it or any notes made about it.

Earlier this month, Lord Justice Warby ordered the Mail on Sunday to pay £450,000 in costs.

Ian Mill QC, representing Meghan, told the court the Duchess was willing to “cap her damages” for misuse of private information “at a nominal award”, in order to “avoid the need for time and cost to be incurred in debating these issues”.

Meghan had asked that the Mail on Sunday print a statement on their front page saying she had won her privacy case, while saying the Mail Online should have a piece on their website's home page for six months.

Antony White QC, representing ANL, previously argued printing a statement was unnecessary, adding it seemed to be “intended more as a species of punishment or retribution, rather than as a necessary and proportionate measure in the interests of the claimant or the public”.

The Mail on Sunday's application to appeal the privacy and copyright decision was refused.

They will, however, be applying to the Court of Appeal.

A spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the Judge’s decision not to allow the privacy case to be determined at trial and by his refusal of leave to appeal.

"We will be applying to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal in relation to his decisions on both the privacy and copyright claims."

Last month, the judge ruled that the publication of Meghan's letter to her father was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful".

In a ruling in February, Mr Justice Warby granted Meghan summary judgment in relation to her privacy claim, meaning she won that claim without having to go to trial – and that she would not have to face her dad Thomas in court.

The 39-year-old had claimed articles published in February 2019 involved a misuse of her private information, breached her copyright and breached the Data Protection Act.

And the judge also granted Meghan's copy claim, saying The Mail On Sunday's articles "copied a large and important proportion of the work's original literary content".

He said: "It was, in short, a personal and private letter.

"The majority of what was published was about the claimant's own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father's behaviour, as she saw it, and the resulting rift between them.

"These are inherently private and personal matters."

However, the judge said the issue of whether Meghan was "the sole author" – or whether Jason Knauf, formerly communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was a "co-author" – should be determined at a trial, despite being one "of minor significance in the overall context".

Meghan's data protection claim was not considered at the summary judgment hearing earlier this year and is still outstanding.

Releasing a statement last month, the duchess said: "For today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won."

A spokesperson for ANL said they were "very surprised" by the ruling.

The court hearing comes amid an explosive week for the Royal Family.

 The Queen has launched an unprecedented probe into allegations Meghan and Harry bullied their staff.

The claims surfaced after the a series of teaser clips of Meghan and Harry's upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey were released.

One 30-second snippet features Meghan accusing the Royal Family of "perpetuating falsehoods" and telling the interviewer "there's a lot has been lost".

And today, a new teaser was released featuring Meghan saying she'd been banned from speaking out to the talk show host before.

Claims emerged in The Times this week that the Duchess drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third.

Meghan strongly denies the allegations.

However, royal aides said they were left 'shaking with fear' following run-ins with her – and Buckingham Palace has now announced a formal probe into the allegations.

In response to the reports, Meghan and Harry accused the Queen's staff of orchestrating a "calculated smear campaign" ahead of their explosive two-hour interview.

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