MEGHAN Markle has won her privacy case in a blow against press freedom and will not face her estranged father in court.
A High Court judge yesterday ruled the Mail on Sunday breached her privacy when it printed extracts of a five-page letter she wrote to Thomas, 76.
Meghan Markle has won her privacy case against the Mail On Sunday[/caption]
Palace chiefs breathed a sigh of relief as a showdown with Thomas and his daughter, 39, was avoided.
However legal experts said it was a “good day” for the rich and powerful with expensive PR teams.
The Duchess of Sussex also won her application that publication breached copyright.
But a trial could take place later to determine whether the Duchess was the sole author of the letter. It means officials dubbed “the Palace Four” may still give evidence.
Mail on Sunday publishers were “surprised” at the ruling and last night considering an appeal. Mark Stephens, of media law firm Howard Kennedy, said it was the first time in 20 years a ruling of this kind had been made on a privacy case. He warned: “That has thrown the law into sufficient uncertainty.
“People leak letters all the time and the question is whether you can report them or not.
Meghan with her dad Thomas Markle[/caption]
The Duchess with husband Prince Harry[/caption]
“Under this doctrine the judge says it doesn’t matter what her motivation was, it was her letter and private and up to her who she gives the information to or not.
“So essentially what you have is a judicial endorsement of the ability to curate your reputation.
“It’s a good day for the rich and powerful who can afford expensive PR people to curate a false image which you then as a member of the media are unable to debunk. It effectively manacles the media from reporting on letters in the future.”
Meghan wrote a “heartfelt” letter to her dad after her marriage to Harry in 2018. Thomas then handed it to the paper after pals of Meghan spoke about its contents to a magazine. Justice Warby delivered his verdict yesterday after a two-day hearing in January.
He ruled Meghan had a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. But he said there should be a trial on the copyright ownership of the letter.
A further hearing next month will decide “the next steps”.
Associated Newspapers Ltd, Mail on Sunday publishers, said: “We are very surprised by today’s summary judgment and disappointed at being denied the chance to have all the evidence heard and tested in open court at a full trial.
Most read in News
Moment cop is dragged 30ft by car after driver, 18, sped from traffic check
Highways England faces manslaughter charges after gran died on smart motorway
Long Covid sufferer, 53, shares horrific picture of 'radiation burns'
Covid mass vaccine centre 'forced to close for 2-3 weeks over supply issue'
Railway worker, 30 who died after being hit by train in London is pictured
Mum thought she had Covid – but her body turned black & she lost her legs
“We are carefully considering the judgment and will decide in due course whether to lodge an appeal.”
The case had cost the duchess at least £1.8million, a previous hearing was told. She said yesterday that she was “grateful” and thanked her “husband, mom and legal team”.
Meghan added: “I share this victory with each of you — because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.”
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]