Meghan Markle vs the Daily Mail


On Thursday, December 2, Meghan Markle won her lawsuit against the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, for publishing a letter she had written to her father back in 2018. The 40-year-old former American actress sees this decision by the court as an important success. She and her husband regularly decry the methods of the tabloids to gather maximum public attention and increase sales.

The publisher of the Daily Mail, the Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), had challenged the first judgement taken in February in the Court of Appeal. It ruled the publication of Meghan’s letter to her father as “clearly excessive and therefore illegal” and as a violation of her privacy. The tabloid reproached in particular that the decision was taken in the first instance, without going through a proper trial. On Thursday, December 2, the Court of Appeal decided to “uphold the judge’s decision that the Duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy,” and stressed that the content of the letter was “personal, private and not of legitimate public interest.” Meghan Markle stated that “What matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that pushes people to be cruel and profits from the lies and pain they create,” after the London Court of Appeal ruled in her favor.

Prince Harry denounced repeatedly the pressure of the media, cited it as the main reason for his withdrawal from the royal family in April 2020. He now lives in California with his wife and their two children. 

In this missive to her father written in 2018, shortly after her marriage, the Duchess of Sussex asked her father, Thomas Markle, to stop venting and lying in the media about their broken relationship. The Daily Mail has been ordered to report on the front page of its legal defeat, and its publisher to pay 450,000 pounds (530,000 euros) to Meghan for her legal costs. 

Meghan Markle denounced the “ruleless” practices of the publication, which she said made “a simple matter extremely convoluted, in order to generate even more headlines […] a model that rewards chaos rather than truth.” To support her claims, the Mail on Sunday had put forward the testimony of Jason Knauf, the couple’s former communications secretary, who had claimed that the draft letter had been written with “the possibility of it leaking” in mind. In written testimony, Meghan refuted this claim, saying it was only a “possibility”.

Supporting the tabloid’s claim that Meghan Markle regularly sought to influence public opinion, Mr. Knauf also said he had provided private information on behalf of Meghan and Harry to the authors of the unofficial biography of the royal couple, “Finding Freedom”. According to him, the book project was “routinely discussed” and “directly with the Duchess, both in person and via email.”Ms. Markle acknowledged the latter information and apologized for misleading the court by not stating it in the first instance. She argued that the information shared with the authors was “a far cry from the very detailed personal information” published by the Mail. 

The Daily Mail following the decision of the Court of Appeal announced that it was considering taking the case to the British Supreme Court

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