What to Know About Meghan Markle's Lawsuit Against Associated Newspapers - BEVERLY HILLS NEWS


Meghan Markle suffered a blow before her trial against Associated Newspapers even began, and her camp made it clear that she and Prince Harry weren’t backing down. But sadly, it seems like their court battle has come to a close because the judge overseeing their case didn’t rule in their favor, per Entertainment Tonight.

Since it’s unclear of what Meghan and Harry will do after this, you’re going to want to read up on all the details…you know, in case anything else happens. Spoiler: This entire drama has loads to do with Meghan’s tense relationship with her estranged father, Thomas Markle, the texts they exchanged before her wedding, and the edited private letter that the Daily Mail published.

Sometime in August 2018

Meghan sends a five-page letter to her father, which will later become the center of a lengthy legal battle between the royals and Associated Newspapers, the publisher of UK tabloids Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

December 17, 2018

Thomas continues to be a pain in the royal family’s side and claims he texts Meghan every day but she’s “ghosting” him. He told ITV, “For that incident I’ve apologized 100 times—I don’t feel that’s worthy of being shunned or ghosted, that’s ridiculous.” Sure, Jan.

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February 10, 2019

And so it begins. The Daily Mail got its hands on the letter Meghan sent to Thomas and published it in all its edited glory. (Meghan would later say it was an attempt at making her look bad.) Here’s a little sample of what the outlet published:

“Daddy, It is with a heavy heart that I write this, not understanding why you have chosen to take this path, turning a blind eye to the pain you’re causing….Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces—not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain but by making the choice not to tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand.

“You’ve told the press that you called me to say you weren’t coming to the wedding—that didn’t happen because you never called….You’ve said I never helped you financially and you’ve never asked me to help, which is also untrue; you sent me an email last October that said: ‘If I’ve depended too much on you for financial help then I’m sorry but please if you could help me more not as a bargaining chip for my loyalty.

“…the week of the wedding to hear about you having a heart attack through a tabloid was horrifying. I called and texted…I begged you to accept help—we sent someone to your home…and instead of speaking to me to accept this or any help, you stopped answering your phone and chose to only speak to tabloids…you haven’t reached out to me since the week of our wedding, and while you claim that you have no way of contacting me, my phone number has remained the same. This you know. No texts, no missed calls, no outreach from you.”

On top of publishing this, the Daily Mail also enlisted a “handwriting expert,” who claimed Meghan’s letter suggested she was “ultra cautious,” a “showman and a narcissist,” “materially motivated,” and “a consummate performer and strategist.”

As a totally objective outsider with absolutely no personal interest in the matter, those sound like fighting words.

February 23, 2019

Meghan threatens to sue “under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act for publishing a private letter she sent to her father.” According to The Guardian, Meghan’s reps have “been in touch” with the outlet since the publication of the letter.

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Lawsuit coming in 3…2…

October 1, 2019

It’s official. Meghan and Harry are suing Associated Newspapers. In a lengthy statement on the official Sussex website, Harry wrote:

“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences—a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.

“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face—as so many of you can relate to—I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper.”

When the lawsuit was filed, the Sussexes’ reps from Schillings law firm stated the outlet’s choice to publish the letter was “intrusive and unlawful” and part of “a campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her as well as her husband.”

Formally, they’re suing for “breach of privacy,” copyright violations, and “the aforementioned media agenda.”

October 4, 2019

Not to be confused with the letter case, Harry files a separate lawsuit. This time, he’s going after New Group Newspapers (publishers of The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the defunct News of the World) for allegedly hacking their phones.

In short: Their lawyers are b-u-s-y.

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November 15, 2019

More details about the court documents surface, and it’s clear Meghan has a lot to be upset about. In addition to providing her perspective on her relationship with her dad, Meghan’s lawyers refute several rumors about her within the lawsuit.

Remember when the outlets claimed she was indirectly supporting murder because she likes avocados? She begs to differ. And remember when everyone thought she constructed an entire yoga studio in the palace? Fake news. And as for her upbringing, she is not from “gang-scarred” Compton, contrary to what the outlets published.

January 15, 2020

As Associated Newspapers claims the royals “rely on publicity about themselves and their lives in order to maintain the privileged positions they hold and promote themselves” and therefore would deny any wrongdoing in the lawsuit, it becomes clear that Thomas may be called to testify. Clinging to relevancy (sorry, but it’s true!), Samantha Markle made sure to comment on this matter and said that her dad would cooperate if the court needs him to speak about the evidence used in the case.

April 20, 2020

As both legal teams gear up for the pretrial hearing, everyone discovers that Meghan learned of her dad’s alleged heart attack through the news. Several outlets publish the texts she and Harry sent to her dad leading up to the wedding and after his health scare, and they’re so heartbreaking.

When it became apparent that Thomas staged those infamous paparazzi photos and wouldn’t be attending their wedding, Meghan and Harry texted him several times. These are just a couple of the texts from Harry:

“Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize, we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse. If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don’t involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation. So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks.”

“Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.”

And after Thomas suffered from a (possibly fake) heart attack, Meghan texted him:

“I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts.”

“Very concerned about your health and safety and have taken every measure to protect you but not sure what more we can do if you don’t respond.”

“Do you need help? Can we send the security team down again? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in the hospital but need you to please get in touch with us….What hospital are you at?”

When she didn’t hear back, Meghan texted Thomas telling him that she and Harry ultimately decided to send their security team to make sure he is safe. And days before their wedding, she sent another saying, “I’ve called and texted but haven’t heard back from you so hoping you’re okay.”

April 24, 2020

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the court hearing is taking place remotely and Meghan had to call into the first proceeding from her current residence in Los Angeles. This first hearing is the “strike-out hearing,” which means Justice Mark Warby will decide whether he will “strike out” Meghan’s allegations that the outlets engaged in “improper conduct.”

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Picturing Meghan calling in from home like this.

USA NetworkGetty Images

April 25, 2020

Ugh, now, Meghan’s friends might be called to testify. Apparently, Associated Newspapers claimed Meghan compromised her own privacy when she allegedly allowed five friends to “leak details about the letter” to People magazine before the Daily Mail actually published excerpts.

Meghan’s team denied this, of course, and claimed she “did not know that her friends were giving an interview to People magazine, let alone that one of them would refer to the letter.”

May 1, 2020

Meghan received a major blow to her case. The judge sided with Associated Newspapers after the pretrial hearing and struck out Meghan’s claim that the outlets “acted dishonestly and in bad faith,” “deliberately dug up or stirred up conflict between Meghan and her father,” and had an “obvious agenda of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about [her] intended to portray her in a false and damaging light.”

Although this is a disappointing start for Meghan, her counsel, who previously represented Princess Diana, won’t be “deterred from continuing with the case.”

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July 1, 2020

E! News obtained court docs from Meghan’s case against Mail on Sunday and it’s clear that the constant tabloid reports caused her “tremendous emotional distress,” which added to the burden of already feeling vulnerable within the royal family. According to the court papers:

“[Meghan Markle] had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media, specifically by the [Mail on Sunday], which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health. As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”

July 9, 2020

Meghan just accused the Mail on Sunday of trying to name five of her friends who spoke about her in a 2019 People interview under the condition of anonymity. To her, this was a “vicious” attempt at creating “clickbait” content and could damage her friends’ mental health. Meghan’s lawyers made a formal application to block Associated Newspapers from naming her friends, and Meghan stated:

“Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women—five private citizens—who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a U.S. media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behavior of Britain’s tabloid media. These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case—that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter….Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy. Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental well-being. The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.”

July 17, 2020

According to new court documents obtained by The Mirror, Meghan denied her father’s claims that she never helped him financially. Ugh, can someone tell Thomas that it’s a parent’s job to financially support their kid and not vice versa?

Thomas claimed he paid for all of Meghan’s college tuition, but she refuted that, saying her mother helped and she earned a grant and worked multiple part-time jobs to afford it. Meghan said she began voluntarily giving Thomas money in January 2014 and stopped when she married Prince Harry in May 2018, which was also around the time Thomas got super messy in the press.

If Meghan wins this lawsuit, she intends to donate all the money to an anti-bullying charity.

August 5, 2020

A victory for Meghan! CNBC reports that Meghan just won a preliminary trial matter that’ll help keep the names of five friends who spoke anonymously to People private and out of the tabloids.

Judge Mark Warby ruled that the sources’ names cannot be published as part of her legal action against British tabloids, just as Meghan was hoping.

This whole anonymity thing was more of a precursor to the main full trial (which will likely happen next year), but hey, a win is a win.

September 20, 2020

According to The Guardian, Associated Newspapers sought permission at a recent hearing to amend its written defense to argue that Meghan “cooperated with the authors of the recently published book Finding Freedom to put out their version of certain events,” but her lawyers strongly deny it.

Meghan’s lawyer Justin Rushbrooke QC reportedly said, “The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book.”

Rushbrooke said Harry and Meghan did not speak to authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, who he added “were not given the impression that the claimant wanted the contents of the letter to be reproduced in the book.”

September 30, 2020

Welp…that’s all folks. According to Entertainment Tonight, Meghan has lost her battle with The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday‘s publishers. The ruling states that the publishers are allowed to “use the contents of a recent behind-the scenes book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in its legal defense for an invasion of privacy lawsuit brought by the duchess.”

The judge overseeing the case, Francesca Kaye, has also granted Associated Newspapers Ltd. the ability to add “further particulars” with Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie’s Finding Freedom book.

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