Meghan won't face estranged father in court after judge's ruling

Meghan has won her privacy case against the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper published the private letter she sent to her father.

A High Court judge ruled there will not be a full trial to decide the Duchess of Sussex's claim.

Meghan launched legal action against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online after the articles in which they reproduced parts of her letter.

She penned the handwritten note in the summer of 2018 - shortly after the Royal Wedding.

It means Thomas Markle will not be called to the High Court to give evidence against his daughter, as he indicted he would.

A trial had been pencilled in for Autumn 2021.

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But the Duchess had asked the judge to make a 'Summary Judgement' claiming that the evidence on her side was overwhelming and the newspaper had no realistic prospect of success.

Mr Justice Warby this afternoon ruled that: "Meghan had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the Letter would remain private. The Mail Articles interfered with that reasonable expectation."

But the judge did conclude that there should be a trial to determine the copyright issue of Meghan's letter to Thomas Markle.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married in 2018 at St. George's Chapel Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

The Mail on Sunday successfully argued that her claim for breach of copyright was not straightforward as Meghan had shown a draft of her words to then then Communications Secretary at Kensington Palace, Jason Knauf.

The statement from the court said it was persuaded that "there should be a trial limited to issues relating to the ownership of copyright."

Thomas Markle failed to attend her wedding to Prince Harry and still has not met his son-in-law or his grandson, Archie.

The father and daughter's relationship broke down after he staged paparazzi photographs ahead of the wedding.

Meghan spent 'several weeks' drafting the letter to her father, Thomas Markle. Credit: GMB

Mr Markle also told the celebrity news website, TMZ, about a heart attack before he told Meghan.

Neither have spoken to each other since then.

The Duchess of Sussex claimed the Mail on Sunday article, in February 2019, was a breach of her privacy and she also sued for breach of copyright and data protection.

Lawyers for the newspaper's publisher, Associated Newspapers, argued that five of Meghan's friends should be cross-examined at a trial because they had spoken anonymously to the US magazine, People, shortly before the Mail on Sunday article.

One of the friends had referred to the existence of the letter to Mr Markle.

The Mail on Sunday also argued Harry and Meghan had given approval for friends to share private details with the authors of the biography Finding Freedom which was published last year.

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The authors insists they were given no formal help from the couple.

Four members of staff, who worked for Meghan and Harry at the time, had indicted that they would be prepared to be questioned in court as they would be able to "shed some light" on some of the points of contention.

They were referred to in court as the 'Palace Four' and said they have information on the creation of the letter and what drafts were shared, they claim Meghan expected her letter to end up in the public domain, and how much help was given to the authors of Finding Freedom.

Only the issues around the authorship of the letter will now be tested as the copyright matter remains unresolved.

A Mail on Sunday spokesperson said: "We are very surprised by today’s summary judgment and disappointed at being denied the chance to have all the evidence heard and tested in open court at a full trial.

"We are carefully considering the judgment’s contents and will decide in due course whether to lodge an appeal."

A further hearing has been scheduled for 2nd March.