Read The Full Judgement From Meghan Markle’s Court Case Against The Daily Mail

The court ruled in her favour this morning, publishing an extensive document confirming that the letter to Meghan Marke's father should never have been printed.

Meghan Markle

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

Meghan Markle's court case against the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online is finally over this morning, with the judge ruling that the publication did break the law by publishing her letter to her father, Thomas Markle.

The latest development came after an appeal by the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), battling to overturn a High Court ruling that it had breached the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy. ANL printed five articles that reproduced portions of a five-page handwritten letter Meghan wrote to her father in August 2018.

After the High Court judge gave a summary judgement in Meghan’s favour without the need for trial, ANL appealed during a three-day hearing in November, arguing that Meghan’s claims – which included breach of privacy and copyright – should go to trial.

ANL claimed that they had not broken the law because Meghan had written the letter with the knowledge it could at some point be leaked. They provided a witness statement, texts and emails from Meghan’s former communications chief Jason Knauf showing that she had sent him a draft of the letter, adding: ‘Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice.”

However, in written evidence, Meghan denied that she thought it likely her father would ever leak the letter – only acknowledging that ‘this was a possibility’. Her lawyers argued that the letter was ‘deeply personal’ and ‘self-evidently was intended to be kept private’.

Emails to Knauf also show her explaining that the letter to her father – which came after Thomas Markle gave numerous controversial interviews to the press about his daughter's impending nuptials to Prince Harry – was written with the intention to ‘protect Harry’ because the royal family was ‘constantly berating’ him over the negative publicity surrounding her father.

Initially, ANL argued that the reason for publishing the letter was to correct ‘certain inaccuracies’ about it contained in an article published on 6 February 2019 in People magazine in the USA (dubbed ‘the People Article’ in the judgement). However, the judge ruled the extent of the letter published by the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online was not proportionate to correct said inaccuracies.

Now, the full judgement from the Court of Appeal has been posted the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website – with many searching for it to read for themselves.

Read the full court judgement ruling the Mail on Sunday did break the law by printing Meghan Markle’s letter to her father:

The 31-page document begins by introducing the court case, analysing factual background including ‘the father-daughter relationship at the time of the wedding’, the letter itself and the articles written about it by the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online.

After extensive analysis of the new evidence, Meghan Markle’s reasonable expectation of privacy versus public interest and the nature of the attack on Meghan’s character, the three judges on the case – including Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Bean – concluded the following:

‘I [Sir Geoffrey Voswould] admit the new evidence filed by both parties, and dismiss Associated Newspapers’ appeal on all the grounds for which permission was given. I should not leave this case without reiterating the narrowness of the issues we have had to decide.

'The appeal was against the judge’s decision that it could be seen mainly on the basis of the central documents in the case (viz the People Article, the Letter, and the Articles themselves) that the claimant’s reasonable expectation of privacy and copyright in the Letter had been infringed. After careful consideration of his detailed judgment, I agree with the views the judge expressed on these very confined, mostly factual, questions.

‘Essentially, whilst it might have been proportionate to disclose and publish a very small part of the Letter to rebut inaccuracies in the People Article, it was not necessary to deploy half the contents of the Letter as Associated Newspapers did. As the Articles themselves demonstrate, and as the judge found, the primary purpose of the Articles was not to publish Mr Markle’s responses to the inaccurate allegations against him in the People Article.

'The true purpose of the publication was, as the first 4 lines of the Articles said: to reveal for the first time [to the world] the “[t]he full content of a sensational letter written by [the Duchess] to her estranged father shortly after her wedding”. The contents of the Letter were private when it was written and when it was published, even if the claimant, it now appears, realised that her father might leak its contents to the media.’

Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Bean then agreed with the conclusion.

If you want to read the full judgement on the Mail on Sunday versus Meghan Markle, click here.

Read More:

Why Does Everyone Blame Meghan And Forget About Harry?

These Are All The Emails And Texts Read Out During The Meghan Markle Court Case

Meghan Markle Is Right - Going From One Child To Two Is Overwhelming

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us