The U.K. tabloid published a private letter Meghan Markle (right) wrote to her father, former Hollywood lighting director Thomas Markle (left). (Mega/Reuters) (Getty Images/Mega)
On Wednesday, a High Court judge sided with the Duchess of Sussex’s attorneys regarding the remaining parts of the copyright claim, after lawyers representing Queen Elizabeth II refuted the defense’s claims that the letter’s copyright belonged to the Crown.
Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website, previously said it believed that Jason Knauf, the former communications secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was a co-author of the letter. They argued that this meant the letter belonged to the Crown.
However, the former American actress’s lawyer Ian Mill told the court that Knauf’s attorney confirmed he did not write the letter and said that the defense’s case on the ownership of the copyright in the letter “has been shown to be completely baseless.”
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry officially stepped down from royal duties in March 2020 and moved to California with their young son Archie. (Photo by Getty )
The 39-year-old had already won most of her claim for misuse of private information and copyright infringement against Associated Newspapers Ltd. The former “Suits” star sued over five 2019 articles that published large portions of a letter she wrote to former Hollywood lighting director Thomas Markle about her 2018 royal wedding to Prince Harry.
In February, a judge ruled in her favor, saying the publishing of large parts of the handwritten letter was “manifestly excessive” and unlawful. The judge granted the duchess’s request for a summary judgment to settle the case, meaning she won that part of the case without having to go to trial.
At the time, the court still had to decide whether Markle was the “sole author” and copyright holder of the letter.
In his ruling in February, Judge Mark Warby said the public disclosure of Markle’s “personal and private letter” to her father Thomas, 76, was unlawful.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their second child. (AP)
“The majority of what was published was about the claimant’s own behavior, her feelings of anguish about her father’s behavior, as she saw it, and the resulting rift between them,” he said. “These are inherently private and personal matters.”
Markle and Harry, 36, officially stepped down from royal duties in March 2020 and moved to California with their young son Archie. The couple has said that relentless scrutiny from the British media was one of the reasons they decided to leave the U.K. Markle is currently expecting the couple’s second child.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.