ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship has the latest on the drawn-out, two-year legal drama and whether it could continue further
Given this case has not, and will not go to trial, it’s created an extraordinary amount of news coverage around the world.
And that, the Duchess of Sussex claimed on Thursday, was the fault of a broken model of tabloid journalism which “conditions people to be cruel” and “profits from lies”.
It is not a surprise she has hit out so ferociously at the tabloid media. Both Meghan and Prince Harry have a visceral hatred of the press, his being formed in the years before and after his mother’s death.
It is true that this long drawn-out case has, as Meghan writes, generated “more headlines” (which she claims has led to publishers selling “more newspapers”) but it is also true to say that the Mail on Sunday felt strongly that there were issues to be debated at trial.
Most significant among those is the admission from Meghan that she did indeed know about a meeting with her press secretary and the authors of the “favourable” biography, Finding Freedom.
ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship explains the significance of the win
That’s important, because the Mail was claiming that Meghan and Harry chose to place details of their private lives in the public domain.
Meghan had to apologise for what the Court of Appeal called her “unfortunate lapse of memory” but concluded that it did not, in the end, “bear on the issues”.
The other reason the Mail on Sunday’s publishers wanted a full trial was because Meghan had discussed her letter at length with her press secretary, Jason Knauf, shared drafts of it with him, and discussed how to write the letter to “pull at the heartstrings “ in case it was leaked.
But all of these matters that the Associated Newspapers wanted tested at trial were, found the Court of Appeal, trounced by the fact that Meghan’s letter to her father, Thomas Markle, was “personal, private and not matters of public interest”.
The court also demolished the Mail on Sunday’s claim that Meghan’s letter to Mr Markle had already been put in the public domain by her friends in an favourable article in People magazine.
But the Court of Appeal said the newspaper’s headline and articles had demonstrated that they had been “splashed as a new public revelation” of extracts from the letter – rather than a more simple response from her father to what had been written in the People magazine story.
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In the end, privacy ruled the day in this case.
It is why the saga won’t go to trial – much to the relief of Meghan given her father would have been called to testify against his daughter in court.
And that right to privacy is also why the Duchess of Sussex is now able to attack so strongly the operations of one part of the British media landscape – the tabloid press.