Back in 2018, Meghan Markle sued Associated Newspapers limited over a total of 5 articles published that year.
Markle claimed the Mail On Sunday had duplicated parts of a private letter from her father Thomas Markle whilst branding it ‘relentless propaganda. Meghan won this case in 2021 when a judge ruled in her favour. A full trial did not take place.
ANL (Associated Newspapers Limited) appealed the judge’s decision. However, it was dismissed last month. ANL will now pay an additional undisclosed sum for infringing Markle’s copyright.
Proceeding the court’s ruling, The Mail On Sunday shall pay the Duchess of Sussex only £1 in damages for privacy infringements. ANL could have appealed again, this time to the Supreme court however chose not to on this occasion.
On top of payments for damages, ANL will also provide Markle with an undisclosed amount for infringing her copyright by publishing parts of the aforementioned letter to her 77-year-old father. Additionally, ANL will also cover the majority of her legal fees, which are estimated at close to seven figures.
At the initial three-day hearing, Associated Newspapers Limited put pressure on the judge to take the case to a full trial. The publisher’s lawyers argued that recent evidence from Jason Knauf, a former communications secretary to the Duchess, suggested that Meghan Markle wrote the letter to her father, knowing that there was a chance it could be leaked. This challenge to the case was soon dismissed by the Court of Appeals judge.
The Mail On Sunday printed front page that the Duchess had won her copyright claim against the publisher followed by a statement saying –
‘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.’
Page 3 presented further notices –
‘Following a hearing on 19-20 January, 2021, and a further hearing on 5 May, 2021, the court has given judgment for the Duchess of Sussex on her claim for copyright infringement.
‘The Court found that Associated Newspapers infringed her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letter to her father in The Mail on Sunday and on Mail Online. Financial remedies have been agreed.’
The letter in question was initially made public by the Duchess’s father following various anonymous interviews between some of her friends and US People magazine. Meghan’s dad stated that he released the letter to ‘defend himself’ after the disappointment of finding the letter ‘hurtful’ rather than the olive branch he had hoped for.
Meghan had previously requested her father stop the “painful attacks” on Prince Harry prior to writing the letter, where she accuses Thomas Markle of causing her unwarranted pain and that he never called her to say he would not be attending her wedding. Thomas Markle has disputed these accusations by supposedly providing unanswered texts and calls to a number he had called Meghan and Harry on previously.
Prince Harry made his opinion of the trial and The Mail On Sunday known when he stated:
“I lost my mother, and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces”.