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British publisher begins Meghan lawsuit appeal

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle sued a publisher for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. Photo: Getty
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A British newspaper publisher has begun its court appeal against a judge’s ruling that it invaded the privacy of the Duchess of Sussex by publishing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father.

Publisher Associated Newspapers is fighting back against Meghan Markle, 40, who sued it for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that reproduced large portions of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle.

The letter was written after Meghan’s 2018 marriage to Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson. The publisher argues the duchess knew it would potentially be published.

A High Court judge sided with Meghan in February, ruling that the paper’s publication of the letter was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.”

On Tuesday (British time), lawyer Andrew Caldecott countered that the letter was not written as an “intimate communication for her father’s eyes only”.

“The letter was crafted specifically with the potential of public consumption in mind because the claimant appreciated Mr Markle might disclose it to the media,” the lawyer told the Court of Appeal.

In March, the publisher was ordered to print a front-page statement stating it had infringed the duchess’ copyright but the statement has not been published pending the outcome of the appeal.

Three senior judges preside over the appeal, which is expected to last three days.

A ruling is due at a later date.

Meghan and Harry announced in early 2020 that they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions of the British media.