A HIGH Court judge will today hand down his rule in the latest stage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s legal battle over a letter she sent to her dad.
The Duchess of Sussex launched legal action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, after it printed a “private and confidential” handwritten note she sent to her father Thomas Markle.
The former actress is seeking damages from Associated Newspapers Ltd for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Lawyers for the publisher last week asked for parts of the Duchess’ case to be struck out during a virtual hearing.
And Mr Justice Warby will deliver his ruling on Associated Newspapers’ application at noon today.
During last week’s case, the virtual High Court heard the letter had been published by Associated Newspapers to satisfy the “curiosity” of readers, which it had “deliberately generated”.
Part of the Duchess’ claims saw Meghan allege Associated Newspapers had been “harassing, humiliating, manipulating and exploiting” Thomas Markle.
David Sherborne, representing the duchess, accused the publisher of “stirring up” a dispute between Meghan and her father, and argued it “caused the very dispute” that it says, “justifies the publication of this letter”.
Mr Sherborne also said the publisher “deliberately misled the public by presenting a false picture of the letter”.
But Antony White QC, representing Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, argued Meghan had not spoken directly to her father in two years.
He told the court Meghan’s contention that her “vulnerable” father was “harassed and humiliated”, “manipulated” and “exploited” should not form part of her case.
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over five articles, two in the Mail on Sunday and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019 and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.
The Duchess has previously said any damages she may be awarded if she wins her case will be donated to an anti-bullying charity.
Associated Newspapers wholly denies the allegations, particularly the claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.
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It is understood the Duke of Sussex and Meghan last week listened online to the parts of the hearing conducted by her lawyers.
Sections of the letter were published in the newspaper and online in February last year, and it was announced the duchess would be bringing legal action in October.
The headline on the main article read: Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.