Meghan Markle wins apology, compensation from British newspaper after long legal battle

Duchess of Sussex had sued The Mail on Sunday for printing parts of a letter addressed to her father

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Published: Mon 27 Dec 2021, 7:02 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Dec 2021, 7:08 PM

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has finally received a front-page apology and compensation from The Mail on Sunday.

This marks the end of a long legal battle, which began when she sued the tabloid for copyright infringement - it had printed parts of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

She sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), one of the publishers of Mail Online. However, they maintained that since the palace officials helped Meghan write the letter, she didn’t hold the copyright as the sole author.

According to The Independent, the publisher’s lawyers also argued that new evidence from Jason Knauf, former Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, suggested Meghan wrote the letter with the understanding that it could be leaked.

Earlier this year, a high court judge, Lord Justice Warby, had passed a summary judgement in her favour, rejecting the need for a trial, which led to the publisher's appeal for a trial. However, earlier this month, this appeal was dismissed by a court of appeal judges: Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Bean, on grounds of the duchess' “reasonable expectation” of privacy regarding the contents of the letter.

“Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest,” Sir Geoffrey was quoted as saying.

A notice on the front page of the tabloid read: “The Duchess of Sussex wins her legal case for copyright infringement against Associated Newspapers for articles published in The Mail on Sunday and posted on Mail Online - SEE PAGE 3.”

On page 3, the paper published a longer apology, under the headline 'The Duchess of Sussex', detailing their legal culpability. This apology was also to be kept on Mail Online's homepage “for a period of one week” with a hyperlink to the full, official judgement, Deadline reported.

Most importantly, the Duchess will receive almost $1.7 million as compensation, which is slightly less than the money she spent fighting the case. “This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right… what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create,” Meghan said in the report.

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