Lawyers representing Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have vowed to press on with their legal spat against the Mail on Sunday, despite losing their first battle with tabloid editors for publishing excerpts of a letter she wrote to her father.
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers bosses after the contents of a “private and confidential” handwritten note she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August, 2018 were published in the weekend newspaper.
Prince Harry’s wife is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act, but she lost the first stage of the legal fight after British High Court judge Mr. Justice Warby struck out parts of Meghan’s case following a virtual hearing.
In a ruling on Friday, he wrote: “Some of the allegations are struck out as irrelevant to the purpose for which they are pleaded. Some are struck out on the further or alternative ground that they are inadequately detailed. I have also acted so as to confine the case to what is reasonably necessary and proportionate for the purpose of doing justice between these parties.”
He also tossed Meghan’s claims that Associated Newspapers staff acted “dishonestly” by quoting only passages of the letter.
But the defeat in court hasn’t deterred the former actress, who has vowed to “move forward” with the case.
A statement from her lawyers at Schillings reads: “The Duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed… Today’s ruling makes very clear that the core elements of this case do not change.”
They add: “As part of this process, the extremes to which the Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target the Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display. Whilst the judge recognizes that there is a claim for breach of privacy and copyright, we are surprised to see that his ruling suggests that dishonest behaviour is not relevant.
“Nonetheless, we respect the judge’s decision as the strong case against Associated will continue to focus on the issue of a private, intimate and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by The Mail on Sunday. This gross violation of any person’s right to privacy is obvious and unlawful, and The Mail on Sunday should be held to account for their actions.”
Associated Newspapers bosses, who also own the Daily Mail, MailOnline and Metro, have denied all charges in the suit. They have not commented on the latest developments.
The Duchess and Prince Harry, who recently split from the British royal family and are currently living in California, have been fighting with the U.K. media for years – Harry is also suing the owners of The Sun and The Daily Mirror over the way the newspapers have covered his life, accusing Mirror journalists of hacking into his voicemail messages.