The lawsuit between Meghan Markle and The Mail on Sunday has finally been settled, but the Duchess of Sussex isn’t exactly taking the newspaper to the cleaners. The Mail on Sunday will pay Markle just £1 in damages for invading her privacy.
Meghan’s Legal Battle
Markle and Associated Newspapers, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, have been duking it out in the courts for three years now after the paper published a private letter the duchess had sent to her father.
Mark Stephens, a media lawyer, hypothesized that the small settlement suggests a weakness in Meghan’s case, saying, “Normally for that kind of invasion of privacy you would expect £75,000 to £125,000. It does show that the curation of her reputation was an area where she had effectively invaded her own privacy.”
However, Markle has said that this case wasn’t about a financial settlement; it was about principles. The duchess will be receiving an undisclosed sum from the publisher for the separate case of copyright infringement. The Mail on Sunday will also have to cover a large part of Markle’s legal fees, which could be up to £1 million.
Markle’s spokesperson said the court victories showed the strength of her case and clarified that any money she received from Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday would be donated to charity.
The Details Of The Settlement
The settlement doesn’t just contain financial components. The Mail outlets were ordered to avoid disclosing the names of the five friends of Markle who anonymously spoke to People magazine in 2018 for a piece about the royal. The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline were also ordered to carry front page and homepage headlines stating that they had lost the legal case; the courts even specified the font in which the headlines should be printed.
Associated Newspapers had argued that the case should be taken to trial, but judges ruled against it. A ruling in early December stated that Markle had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy regarding the contents of her personal letter to her father, Thomas Markle. “Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest,” said the appeal judge Sir Geoffrey Vos.
Now that this case is settled, attention is turning to Markle’s husband’s case against the press. Prince Harry is suing Rupert Murdoch’s News UK and Daily Mirror publisher Reach over claims of phone-hacking. Harry’s case is expected to be heard later this year.