Meghan Markle has lost the first round of her High Court case against Associated Newspapers. The Duchess of Sussex is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday for breach of privacy and copyright infringement after the British news outlet published parts of a private letter that she sent her father Thomas Markle in August of 2018. On Friday, Judge Mr. Justice Warby dismissed parts of the royal’s case, according to BBC, including “her allegations the publisher acted ‘dishonestly’ by leaving out certain parts of the letter,” as well as the Duchess’ “allegations that the publisher deliberately ‘dug up’ issues between Meghan and her father, and that it had an ‘agenda’ of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about her.”
“Some of the allegations are struck out as irrelevant to the purpose for which they are pleaded. Some are struck out on the further or alternative ground that they are inadequately detailed. I have also acted so as to confine the case to what is reasonably necessary and proportionate for the purpose of doing justice between these parties,” the judge said. “I do not consider that the allegations struck out on that basis go to the ‘heart’ of the case, which at its core concerns the publication of five articles disclosing the words of, and information drawn from, the letter written by the claimant to her father in August 2018. Some aspects of the case that I have struck out at this stage may be revived if they are put in proper form.”
After the ruling, Meghan’s legal team released a statement saying that the “core elements of this case” remain unchanged. “The Duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed. As part of this process, the extremes to which The Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target The Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display,” a spokesperson for Schillings, the law firm that is representing the Sussexes, said (via HELLO!). “Whilst the Judge recognises that there is a claim for breach of privacy and copyright, we are surprised to see that his ruling suggests that dishonest behaviour is not relevant. We feel honesty and integrity are at the core of what matters; or as it relates to the Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers, their lack thereof.”
The statement continued, “Nonetheless, we respect the Judge’s decision as the strong case against Associated will continue to focus on the issue of a private, intimate and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by The Mail on Sunday. This gross violation of any person’s right to privacy is obvious and unlawful, and The Mail on Sunday should be held to account for their actions.”
Ahead of last week’s remote hearing, text messages between Meghan, Harry and the Duchess’ father were disclosed in legal documents. The Duke’s texts to Thomas after he staged paparazzi photos of himself were among the private messages revealed. “Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u,” the Prince texted. “U do not need to apologize, we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse. If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don’t involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation. So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks.”
Harry added, “Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.” Thomas did not reply to the messages. According to the legal documents, Meghan missed a call from her father at 4:57am on the day of her wedding, but has allegedly not received a text or call from him since.