Against the Daily Mail, Meghan Markle tries to win without trial

Meghan Markle’s father claims his daughter has meant ‘the end’ of their relationship to him in a letter at the center of a lawsuit by Prince Harry’s wife against the tabloid company Daily Mail, which published it extracts.

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The 39-year-old American actress accuses Associated Newspapers – which publishes the Mail Online site, the Daily Mail and its Sunday version Mail on Sunday – for having infringed on her privacy by publishing extracts from this handwritten letter to in August 2018 to her father Thomas Markle, 76, with whom she is at odds.

Her lawyers pleaded Tuesday for her to win her case without going through a trial, scheduled for next fall, risking to turn out to be a big deal. They submitted in this sense a request for “summary judgment”, studied Tuesday and Wednesday by the High Court of London.

“This is a very simple case concerning the illegal publication of a private letter,” pleaded the lawyer for the Duchess of Sussex Justin Rushbrooke on the first day of the hearing, held by videoconference due to the confinement in force. in England. This publication constitutes a “flagrant and serious violation of his right to privacy, and the defense has no viable arguments”.

A trial could turn out to be rich in details on the life of the princely couple formed by the grandson of Elizabeth II with the former actress, who had not hidden feeling badly accepted by the royal family. It could shed new light on their withdrawal from royal duties to move to California.

According to Associated Newspapers, the series of implicated articles, published in February 2019, were on the contrary in the public interest and enabled Thomas Markle to set the record straight, after being accused of insensitivity by friends of his daughter in the American magazine People.

I had to “defend myself,” said Thomas Markle in a statement made public at the hearing.

The letter, in which Meghan asked her not to speak out in the media, was “a criticism of me”, added the one who was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding due to health problems, after posing for paid paparazzi photos. “It actually meant the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation.”

Inflicting a setback on Meghan Markle, justice had authorized in September the Mail on Sunday to support its defense on “Finding Freedom” (Towards freedom), a recent biography favorable to Meghan and Prince Harry, returning to their estrangement from the monarchy British.

Attorneys for Associated Newspapers had claimed that the Duchess had “cooperated with the authors” of this book which also refers to the letter for the distribution of which they are being prosecuted, which they deny.

According to them, the letter had been discussed with communications officials at Buckingham Palace before being sent and was part of a “media strategy”, intended to be published one day.

“It just doesn’t make sense for the requester to put this kind of letter in the public domain,” Justin Rushbrooke argued on Tuesday. “These were the rather sad difficulties of a family relationship, which is not in the public interest.”

Prince Harry, 36, sixth in order of succession to the British crown, has repeatedly denounced media pressure on his couple and made it the main reason for his announced retirement from the royal family in January 2020 and effective since early April.

Harry, whose mother Diana died pursued by paparazzi in Paris in 1997, has also taken legal action against British tabloids, notably for alleged phone hacks.

Since moving to California, Meghan Markle and her husband have signed several contracts with content platforms, including Netflix.

Critics have criticized them for seeking to profit from their membership in the royal family and their fame while refusing to take on the protocol aspects. The couple put forward their willingness to work for humanitarian causes through a new foundation.

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