Meghan Markle granted nine-month delay in Mail on Sunday privacy case

Duchess of Sussex had applied for summary judgement in battle over letters sent to her estranged father

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Ben Birchall/AFP via Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has been granted a nine-month delay in her privacy trial against The Mail on Sunday.

A High Court judge agreed to the delay, which was not opposed by the paper’s publishers, after hearing confidential reasons from Markle’s lawyers as to why it was needed.

Markle had applied for a summary judgment in her legal action, in a move that would have avoided her being called as a witness. Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex argued in court today that a judge should rule on the case without the need for a full trial.

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“A ten-day trial was set to take place in London... with the 39-year-old possibly expected to give evidence in the witness box,” The Sun reports. “The duchess might be hoping to avoid giving evidence during the trial, therefore steering clear of being cross-examined”, the paper adds.

The American is suing Associated Newspapers, publisher of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over an article from 2019 that reproduced parts of a handwritten letter sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

A source told The Times that the duchess is making the application because she believes she has an “overwhelmingly strong case”. The source added that they “do not believe that the defence’s case has a chance of succeeding” and therefore believe it should be “determined on a summary basis.”

A court may give summary judgment if it is agreed that a claimant or defendant has no real prospect of succeeding in a trial.

The duchess is suing over five articles which reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018. The headline of one article read: “Revealed: The handwritten letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.