Meghan Markle mysteriously asks for nine-month delay to privacy court battle

THE Duchess of Sussex has won a nine-month delay in her privacy trial against a newspaper.

In a private hearing, lawyers for Meghan persuaded a judge to put off the court date until at least late autumn in 2021.

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The reason for the request was not revealed.

Meghan, 39, is suing the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after the paper printed extracts of a handwritten letter she sent to her dad Thomas Markle, 76.

At the High Court in London, Justice Warby ruled a “confidential ground” submitted by her lawyers means the trial, previously scheduled for January, can be delayed for a further nine months.

The Mail on Sunday did not oppose the postponement after hearing evidence in a closed court session yesterday.

Justice Warby warned that revealing the reasons for the adjournment could be an offence of contempt of court.

He said: “The primary basis for the application is a confidential ground that has been examined in private hearing.

“It was necessary to hear that part of the case in private in order to avoid damaging the confidentiality of the information and evidence relied on by the claimant.

Dad: Bring it on

By Matt Wilkinson

THOMAS Markle wants his trial against Meghan to go ahead as soon as possible, saying: “I could die tomorrow.”

Mr Markle, 76, will testify on behalf of the Mail on Sunday against his daughter’s claims that it breached her privacy.

He plans to do so in person, it was said.

Mr Markle, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, has not spoken to Meghan since a heart attack prevented him from attending her wedding in May 2018.

After being told she had applied to adjourn the hearing, he said: “This case is causing me anxiety and I want to get it over with.”

In papers, he said he had a heart condition, is on blood thinners and has trouble breathing. Mr Markle also pointed out he was “clinically obese” and “pre-diabetic”.

He added: “I am a realist and I could die tomorrow. The sooner this case takes place the better.”

It also emerged that Meghan, 39, claims she did not text her dad before her wedding as he does not own a mobile. It comes despite Harry admitting texting him in a bid to patch things up.

“That means the trial date of 11th January 2021 will be vacated and be refixed for a new date in the autumn.

“I’m confident we will be able to find a time in October or November for the trial to be accommodated.”

Meghan was ordered to pay £30,000 towards the cost of bringing yesterday’s adjournment application.

She also attempted to have the trial halted altogether — with the judge instead making a ruling based on written evidence from witnesses.

Justice Warby agreed to consider it and a two-day hearing starting on January 12 could decide the matter.

A source close to Meghan said: “We do not believe that the defence’s case has a chance of succeeding and do not believe there is a compelling reason for trial.

“We are confident in our case and therefore believe it should be determined on a summary basis.”

However, in a blow to the Duchess, the judge said evidence from Finding Freedom — a recent biography on her and Prince Harry — can be used in the trial.

The Mail on Sunday argued she should be quizzed over her denials she had not collaborated with the writers.

Meghan, 39, and dad Thomas had vowed to give evidence in court on opposing sides if the trial goes ahead.

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