Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, has won her privacy claim against a British tabloid. The claim was levelled at The Mail on Sunday tabloid, published by Associated Newspapers, who printed sections of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, back in 2018.
“After two long years of pursuing litigation, I am grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday to account for their illegal and dehumanising practices,” Meghan said in a statement.
The decision comes after her lawyers requested that Judge Mark Warby rule in her favour without a trial. Such a trial would have seen her in an adversarial situation with her father, who Meghan has been estranged from since her wedding in May 2018.
For those unaware, the letter was a handwritten and five-pages long, which Meghan wrote to her father after their relationship broke down in the lead up to her wedding to Prince Harry. Her father had also given a witness statement on behalf of the paper.
Judge Warby did rule the articles were a breach of privacy, but Meghan may still need to face her father in a trial relating to the copyright issues involved with the letter. Associated Papers has said it’s considering an appeal. Some are speculating that they may pursue the case even if they lose and are required to pay Megan $1.78 million dollars in damages and costs.
“The editors will know that this case is going to attract world attention and that it will be good copy for them,” said Nigel Tait, a partner at a British law firm who has previously represented high-profile celebrities in battles with the media.
It’s a fear that Meghan seems prescient of in her statement. While she explained that she was grateful that The Mail on Sunday was being held responsible for their “illegal and dehumanising practices,” she also noted that “these tactics are not new. In fact, they’ve been going on for too long without consequence.”
“For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others it’s real life, real relationships and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
“The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high quality news. What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.”
Megan finished her statement with the hope that this decision marked a turning of the tide. “We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody’s privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has so blatantly done over the past two years.”