Following Prince Harry’s recent success in his defamation claim against Associated Newspapers, Meghan Markle has made it 2 from 2 for the Sussexes. In this article, we take a look at whether the summary judgment granted in favour of the Duchess changes the balance between the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression and whether this case may lead to wider procedural implications for publishers to be wary of.
The High Court has granted the Duchess summary judgment in her privacy claim brought against Associated Newspapers (publishers of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline) over publication of a 5-page letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, shortly after she married Prince Harry. The High Court also found that the articles complained of had infringed the Duchess’ copyright, although one issue relating to whether the Duchess shares authorship of the letter with Jason Knauf (her former communications secretary) remains to be decided at trial. Despite trial being required on the authorship issue, Lord Justice Warby gave a somewhat withering initial assessment of the defendant’s case on that point, describing it as being in “the shadowland between improbability and unreality”.
Given the column inches and airtime that has been given to this story, it requires little introduction. On 19 May 2018, Meghan Markle (already a widely known actor) married Prince Harry. Around this time, she was experiencing difficulties with her relationship…