Meghan Markle has won another lawsuit against publisher Associated Newspapers, whose tabloids Mail on Sundayand Daily Mail published parts of the letter she wrote to her estranged dad, Thomas Markle, in 2019.
The High Court in London, through Lord Justice Mark Warby, executed a summary judgment on the case, stating that Markle's letter to her father was not owned by the Crown despite the defense's claims. The summary judgment essentially means that the Duchess of Sussex will not have to go on trial against Associated Newspapers.
Warby previously delayed the ruling on the copyright claims as he needed more time to scrutinize the lawsuit after Associated Newspapers alleged that the copyright of Markle's letter belongs to the Crown since members of the royal staff helped the duchess with the draft. Jason Knauf, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's former communications secretary, apparently went over Markle's personal letter before she sent this to her father.
However, lawyers for the queen's Keeper of the Privy Purse issued a disclaimer for the court, stating that the Crown has no copyright claim over the letter. Knauf's lawyers also told the court that he did not draft the letter and does not assert any copyright. The lawyers further said that this was "the duchess's letter alone."
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry showed Knauf the letter as he provided advice on how the royals must handle issues that could face public scrutiny as part of his job as the communications officer. Knauf made some suggestions to the couple but his lawyers insisted that the content of the correspondence was still Markle's call.
Publishing the letter became the final straw for the Duchess of Sussex to cut off her relationship with her father. Markle said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey in March that she was devastated by her father's betrayal for giving the letter to the tabloids. The Duchess of Sussex has not been in touch with her father since after her wedding to Harry in 2018 and he has not even seen his grandson, Archie.
In February, the judge also ruled that the tabloids interfered with the privacy of Meghan Markle by publishing the letter. Warby said that the contents of the letter were very personal and it was reasonable to expect some of it would be kept private. He asked Associated Newspapers to issue a public apology and pay for her legal fees. The publication, however, has yet to issue a public apology as it is still appealing the case.