The Mail on Sunday had published a handwritten letter from Markle to her father Thomas Markle, prompting the lawsuit in late 2019, shortly before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex relinquished their royal duties and moved to North America.
The article’s headline read: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces.’” The newspaper had obtained the letter from Thomas Markle.
On Thursday, Mr. Justice Warby granted the Duchess of Sussex “summary judgment,” meaning the case has been resolved with no need for a trial.
He described the letter as containing “inherently private and personal matters” and argued that a trial would have resulted in the same conclusion.
The Duchess of Sussex had filed a claim against The Mail’s publisher, Associated Newspapers, over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the U.K.’s Data Protection Act, relating to the alleged unlawful publication of a private letter.
The court still has to rule on the alleged data breaches and any potential damages. The couple’s law firm Schillings had said two years ago that proceeds from any damages would be donated to an antibullying charity.
The couple had revealed they planned to sue the paper on their former website when they were still living in the U.K. Their statement was lengthy and was accompanied by a impassioned statement from Prince Harry about media intrusion in their lives.
“As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting,” Harry’s statement read.
“We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world — on every level — we have never needed responsible media more,” he said, adding that his wife has become the victim of a “British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”
He said there is “a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe.”
The prince took issue with tabloids creating “lie after lie at her expense, simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave. She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.”
The prince and his wife had released the statement while on a 10-day tour of Southern Africa.