STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Meghan Markle seeks court ruling over 'serious breach' of privacy

The duchess, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy over 5 articles that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father.

Published: 19th January 2021 07:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2021 07:02 PM   |  A+A-

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle (File Photo)

By Associated Press

LONDON: Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a “deeply personal” letter to her estranged father was “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy.”

The duchess, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018.

Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court, in what would be one of London's highest-profile civil court showdowns for years.

The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favor and dismiss the newspaper’s defense case. Her lawyer Justin Rushbrooke argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case.

“At its heart it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he said Tuesday at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions.

Rushbrooke said Meghan had every expectation that “a heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father” would remain private.

Lawyers for the duchess say Thomas Markle, a retired television cinematographer, caused anguish for Meghan and Harry before their May 2018 wedding by giving media interviews and posing for wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency. In the end he did not attend the wedding ceremony after suffering a heart attack.

Rushbrooke said Meghan's letter, sent in August 2018, was “a message of peace” whose aim was “to stop him talking to the press."

The last sentences of the letter, read out in court, were: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.”

He said the duchess took steps to ensure the five-page, 1,250-word letter would not be intercepted, sending it by FedEx through her accountant to her father’s home in Mexico.

Lawyers for the publisher argue that Meghan likely knew the letter would one day be published. They also say she made personal information public by cooperating with the authors of a behind-the-scenes book about her and Harry, “Finding Freedom.” She denies collaborating with the authors — though she acknowledges allowing someone close to her to speak to them — and the book is expected to feature prominently in the trial.

In October judge Mark Warby agreed to Meghan’s request to postpone the trial, scheduled to begin this month, until October or November 2021. He said the reason for the delay should remain secret.

Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

A year ago, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp