Why did Meghan Markle receive a public apology from the UK tabloid?
by Ana Walia | Wed, 29 Dec 2021 20:23:41 GMT
Image Source: ELLE, UNILAD

The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has finally not only won the legal battle but also received a public apology from the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after a protracted court battle that lasted almost three years.

The publication in February 2019 breached the privacy of Meghan Markle when they published a five-page letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, shortly after her royal wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018. The Duchess of Sussex sued Associated Newspaper Limited in October 2019 for violating her privacy and copyright rights after the company/publication published the letter.

The statement read, "The Duchess of Sussex wins her legal case for copyright infringement against Associated Newspapers for articles published in The Mail on Sunday and posted on Mail Online. Following a hearing on January 19–20, 2021, and a further hearing on May 5, 2021, the Court has given judgment for the Duchess of Sussex on her claim for copyright infringement. The Court found that Associated Newspapers infringed her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letter to her father in The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online. Financial remedies have been agreed upon."

The Court of Appeal in London announced the result of the case on December 2nd, and the case did not proceed to trial. The High Court's Lord Justice Mark Warby ruled out the decision in Meghan Markle’s favor and wrote in the summary that the duchess "had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private."

The lawyers of Associated Newspaper Limited appealed during the ruling that High Court Lord Justice Mark Warby was wrong to award Meghan the victory via summary judgment, and argued for the right to present their case at trial. But Lord Justice Mark Warby said, "there is no prospect that a different judgement would be reached after a trial."

Meghan Markle said, "This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right." Image Source: Variety 

Meghan Markle’s lawyers wrote to the UK Court of Appeal in November, "To permit the defense to go to trial would only have facilitated further invasions of [Meghan's] privacy." Her lawyers also mentioned that ANL is only pushing the case towards trial as it is going to profit their tabloid, "the opportunity to profit handsomely from the media circus that would inevitably result." During the appeal proceedings in November, ANL presented new evidence in the form of written testimony from Sussex’s former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, which showcased the inconsistencies in the Duchess’ statements to the court about the letter and her expectation of privacy.

According to Jason Knauf, when Meghan Markle wrote her father, Thomas Markle, a letter, she had an idea that her father could give it to the press, and they would publish it. Although Meghan swore under oath that she never coordinated with members of the media to share private information, Knauf provided the court with emails between himself and the duchess discussing what she wanted him to say in a secret briefing with two reporters who were writing what proved to be a very sympathetic biography of the Sussex. In response to Knauf's revelations, in a witness statement filed November. 11, Meghan apologized to the court "for the fact that [she] had not remembered these exchanges" and swore she "had no intention of misleading the defendant or the court."

Meghan Markle sued the UK tabloid for publishing the letter she wrote to her father. Image Source: ET 

The fact that Meghan Markle was intentionally or unintentionally not honest in the courtroom did not affect the decision made by Lord Justice Mark Warby, which eventually went in her favor.

In a statement, Meghan Markle said, "This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right. While this win is precedent-setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel and profits from the lies and pain that they create. From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules. The longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers—a model that rewards chaos above truth. In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks. The courts have held the defendant to account, and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it's not. Tomorrow, it could be you. These harmful practices don't happen once in a blue moon—they are a daily failure that divides us, and we all deserve better. "

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their two young children, Archie, two, and Lilibet, six months, are now residing in Santa Barbara County and have included the first photo of their daughter on their Christmas card. The couple has recently signed deals with Netflix and Spotify to produce documentaries and entertainment content.