Mail on Sunday's front page apology to Meghan on hold while paper mulls appeal

Harry and Meghan spoke about tabloid intrusion into their lives during their Oprah Winfrey interview. Credit: PA

The Mail on Sunday’s front page apology to the Duchess of Sussex for publishing the private letter she sent to her father is on hold, to give the newspaper time to appeal the decision. 

The newspaper, and Mail Online, has been ordered by the High Court to publish apologies to Meghan after the Duchess won her privacy case against the publisher.

Associated Newspapers Ltd, which publishes the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, has until 6 April to seek permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal against the judge’s apology order.

The High Court judge, Mr Justice Warby who has overseen Meghan’s legal fight with the newspaper, has demanded a front page apology within 14 days, but his order has been “stayed” to allow the paper time to seek an appeal.

The order requires the Mail on Sunday makes a front page apology to Meghan, and publish an article about her privacy win on page 3 of the paper “above the fold”.

It even makes demands about the size of the headline and the font of the text.

The judge said the headline should be in “32 point Century regular” and the body of the text should be in “9 point Olympian Roman”.

Meghan had asked for the article on her privacy win to be of similar in size to the original front page story about her letter to Thomas Markle but the number of words is greater, so it won’t have to take up so much space on the paper’s front page.

The Mail Online has been ordered to make an apology on its homepage for a 24-hour period and on the main news page for a further six days.

Similarly, the judge has required the website to write the story in Arial or Helvetica with the headline in 15.6px and the text in 12px.

It is, however, a much shorter period that Meghan had requested.

The Duchess’ legal team had argued the Mail Online should have the apology on its home page for a full six months. 

Both apologies will now be on hold until Associated Newspapers decides whether to make an appeal.

If it goes ahead with one, the apology will be paused until the Court of Appeal determines the application. 

Additionally, a further hearing in this long running legal case has been set to decide on the amount of damages the newspaper should pay Meghan.

That hearing will determine what “financial remedy should be granted to the Claimant in respect of the claim for misuse of her private information”.

The letter was given to the paper by Meghan's father. Credit: PA

It will also assess Meghan’s copyright claim and “the profits to which the Claimant is entitled for the Defendant’s acts of infringement of her copyright”.

The Mail on Sunday has already been ordered to pay 90 percent of Meghan’s legal costs of her application for a Summary Judgement – which was held at Meghan’s request to prevent the entire case going to a full trial in the Autumn.

Meghan wrote the letter to her father in the weeks after the breakdown of their relationship following the Royal Wedding. 

The Mail on Sunday published the letter in February 2019 after being given it by Thomas Markle.

Mr Markle has still not met Prince Harry nor his grandson Archie and Meghan and Harry have not spoken to him since the wedding in May 2018.