Meghan Markle loses bid to stop biography being used as evidence in lawsuit

The Duchess is in a legal battle with Associated Newspapers over the publication of a private letter to her father

Leer en Español

Meghan Markle has lost her bid to prevent the Mail on Sunday from using the biography Finding Freedom in a legal battle.

The Mail on Sunday can now rely on the recent biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in its defence to Meghan’s High Court privacy claim over the publication of a letter to her estranged father.

The Duchess of Sussex, 39, is suing the newspaper’s publisher, Associated Newspapers (ANL), over privacy infringement for publishing the private correspondence to her father, Thomas Markle.

In the latest stage of the process, ANL sought permission to extend their defence on the basis that Meghan had “lost her rights to privacy in the contents of the letter” because “she and her husband cooperated with the authors” of Finding Freedom to put out “their version of events”. 

A spokesperson for the couple told The Independent on numerous occasions that they were not involved and that Finding Freedom was based on co-authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s own experiences in the royal household.

On 21 September, Meghan’s defence team stated that the couple did not meet with the authors “for the purposes of the book” and that Meghan’s PR representative was not given the book beforehand to suggest proposed changes to the text.  

On Tuesday, Meghan’s lawyers said accusations the duke and duchess “collaborated” with the authors was a “conspiracy theory” and argued that references to the letter in the book were simply “extracts from the letter lifted from the defendant's own articles”.

But, ruling on ANL’s application, Judge Francesca Kaye allowed the publisher to amend its defence and said doing so did not raise “new defences”, but simply added “further particulars” of ANL's case.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning.

A spokesperson for Schillings, who are acting on The Duchess’s behalf, told The Independent on Tuesday: “The Court has today stated that The Mail on Sunday will be allowed to amend its legal defence for trial regardless of whether that defence is accurate or true, which based on legally sworn witness statements refuting the newspaper’s arguments, it is not. 

The Mail has been allowed to prolong this action and try contending its amended defence at trial, where we have no doubt it will fail. This defence has no merit and is in fact false.

“This latest hearing was unfortunately another step in a case that has already been drawn out by a defendant who uses the legal process to exploit The Duchess’s privacy and the privacy of those around her for profit-motivated clickbait rather than journalism. As a reminder, it is The Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers who acted unlawfully and are the ones on trial, not The Duchess of Sussex, although they would like their readers to believe otherwise.”

In a preliminary hearing in August, Mr Justice Warby allowed the identities of five of Meghan’s friends, who spoke anonymously to People magazine in the US, to remain protected. He added “for the time being, at least” that should be the case.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in