Mail on Sunday asks High Court to 'strike out' parts of Meghan's lawsuit

The owners of the Mail on Sunday will on Friday ask the High Court to throw out parts of the claim made against it by the Duchess of Sussex.

Meghan is taking legal action against Associated Newspapers after its Sunday newspaper title published parts of a letter she sent to her father, Thomas Markle.

The letter was written in August 2018, three months after the royal wedding at Windsor - which Mr Markle couldn't attend after suffering a heart attack.

The Duchess of Sussex had written the letter to her father three months after her wedding to Harry. Credit: PA/GMB

Extracts from the letter were published in the Mail on Sunday in February 2019.

The Duchess is claiming damages over a breach of her privacy - her legal team says the letter was “self-evidently private and confidential – as well as a breach of data protection and copyright.

Friday's hearing at the High Court will not involve any witnesses (there has been much speculation that Meghan and her father may have to attend at some stage) as it is a pre-trial hearing in which lawyers for Associated Newspapers will ask to have parts of Meghan’s claim “struck out”.

  • ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship explains what happened in court

The newspaper's team wants the court to remove an allegation of “dishonesty” from Meghan's side in their claims the Mail on Sunday deliberately omitted part of her letter, leaving out some words from certain sentences and whole sentences from certain paragraphs – despite the newspaper claims they were publishing the “full content” of the “five page letter”.

Associated’s lawyers also want the court to remove Meghan’s claim that the Mail on Sunday had been “deliberately seeking to dig up or stir issues between her and her father”.

Meghan also claims the paper acted with “malicious intent” in trying to label her as a “showman and a narcissist” and make derogatory remarks about her character by using a handwriting expert.

The newspaper also wants that claim struck out.

Finally on Friday, the judge will have to hear arguments about whether Meghan’s submission of other articles about her in the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online should be thrown out.

They include stories about Meghan’s background in LA, her palace staff quitting because the Duchess was “difficult”, and that the London mosque with which she had worked on a cookbook had terrorist links.

Associated Newspapers has always claimed the publication of the letter was in the public interest given Meghan’s role (at that time) in the royal family and the fact that she and Harry were in receipt of public money.

Most of Friday’s session will be held online in order to comply with the national coronavirus restrictions.

Earlier this week, Harry and Meghan announced that they were ending all cooperation with four UK tabloid newspapers: The Sun, The Mirror, The Mail and The Express over their "reporting style" and "lies".

The couple have moved to Los Angeles since they left the Royal Family after their last official engagement in London last month.

Meghan's most recent reply to the court including details of the text messages sent from her and Harry to Thomas Markle in the days before their wedding in May 2018.

Mr Markle had apologised for staging photographs with paparazzi photographers in LA but then suffered a heart attack.

Meghan found out about her father's health scare from the showbiz website TMZ, according to her court submissions.

And it was also revealed that neither Meghan nor Harry has spoken to Thomas Markle since their wedding day.