Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle’s lawyer have asked the judge hearing her case against British tabloid for publishing a deeply personal letter she wrote to her father, to rule in her favour without need for a trial as its a “plain breach” of privacy.
Meghan is suing publisher Associated Newspapers after its Mail on Sunday paper printed extracts of a handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
At the start of two days of remote hearings, Meghan’s lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, asked a London High Court judge to issue a summary judgment without a potentially embarrassing trial.
The Mail on Sunday, he argued, had no prospect of winning what he called a “plain and serious” breach of her privacy and there was no viable defence.
Meghan says publishing some of the five-page letter, which ran to 1,250 words, was a misuse of private information and breached her copyright.
The letter was penned after the duchess’s relationship with Markle broke down in the run-up to her glittering wedding to Harry in May 2018, which her father missed due to ill health and after he admitted posing for paparazzi pictures.
Rushbrooke told the court Meghan’s “intrinsically private, personal and sensitive letter” had been a plea to her father to stop talking to the press.
“I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you,” its concluding sentence, read out by Rushbrooke, said.
Rushbrooke said the Mail on Sunday had broken the code of conduct British newspapers worked by, and the case raised “a disturbing question” about who controlled the contents of a private letter.
In its written defence, the paper said the duchess was willing for private matters to become public if it suited her, saying she had cooperated with a biography of the couple, and there were “inconsistent statements” she needed to explain.
Its lawyers added Meghan had expected or intended the letter to become public, and any expectation of privacy would be outweighed by the paper’s rights to freedom of expression.
The trial was due to start last week but was delayed until late 2021 at Meghan’s request last year because of a confidential reason. Her team also announced at the time they would seek a summary judgement.
Meghan and Harry now live in Los Angeles, having stepped down from official royal duties last year.