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Meghan Markle, 39, is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online over the publication of parts of a handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 76, in August 2018. The Duchess of Sussex is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, breaching the Data Protection Act and infringement of copyright over five articles published in February 2019 which included extracts from a “private and confidential” letter to her father. Royal correspondent Chris Ship claimed Meghan has lost almost a quarter of a million pounds to the publisher on two cases.
Speaking on ITV’s royal rota, Mr Ship said: “We think this loss for Team Sussex has cost them £180,000.
“They had to pay £70,000 on the one they lost before.
“The combined costs for both sides is now projected at around £3million.”
Meghan lost the latest skirmish in her privacy lawsuit against the tabloid newspaper, after London’s High Court ruled on Tuesday the paper could amend its case to include details from a recently published biography.
Ahead of a trial due to start next year, the Mail on Sunday had applied for permission to amend its case, arguing the couple had cooperated with a biography about them, “Finding Freedom”, which was published in August.
The paper’s lawyers said it showed that Meghan had intended some private details to become public, including the contents of the letter, as part of a media campaign to portray her in a positive light.
Antony White, the paper’s lawyer, told the court last week some personal information in the biography of Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, could only have come from the couple themselves or close friends authorised to disclose it.
The book “gives every appearance of having been written with their extensive cooperation”, he said.
Meghan’s lawyer Justin Rushbrooke said there was no evidence for the claims and the court should not permit speculative amendments.
One of the book’s authors, Omid Scobie, gave a witness statement saying the couple had not authorised the book nor been interviewed for it.
However the judge, Francesca Kaye, ruled that while she made no view on the strength of the Mail on Sunday’s case, the amendments could not be said to be “unarguable or utterly fanciful”.
She said neither Rushbrooke’s arguments nor Scobie’s statement provided a “knockout blow” and they would be issues for the trial judge to determine.
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The trial is scheduled to start on January 11 and to last between seven and 10 days.
Tuesday’s decision is the second setback for the Duchess after the court in May rejected part of her claim that the paper had acted “dishonestly”.
However her legal team has so far successfully resisted the paper’s attempts to publish the names of five friends who gave anonymous interviews to the US magazine People, with the court agreeing they can stay secret for time being.
The Mail on Sunday’s lawyers argue that publication of the letter was justified as a response to those interviews, while Meghan’s team says it was untrue she had authorised or arranged for her friends to speak on her behalf.
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