For as long as she’s been linked to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has been the subject of intense media scrutiny – often exacerbated by her own family members. (Ahem, Thomas Markle Sr. and Samantha Markle.) Now, though, the Duchess of Sussex can move past at least one instance of this damaging coverage as a judge just ruled in her favor in the lengthy suit against the U.K.’s Associated Newspapers.
On Feb. 11, Markle won a lawsuit against The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday's parent company for publishing a personal letter she wrote to her father following her 2018 wedding. In an effort to "set the record straight" about a People article and counter the public's negative perception of him, Thomas had shared his daughter's private correspondence with the tabloid The Mail on Sunday.
As reported by NBC News, Judge Mark Warby wrote that Meghan "had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private." He then added that "the only tenable justification for any such interference" would be to provide a fact-check for the People article. However, the judge ultimately decided:
"The inescapable conclusion is that, save to the very limited extent I have identified, the disclosures made were not a necessary or proportionate means of serving that purpose. For the most part, they did not serve that purpose at all. Taken as a whole the disclosures were manifestly excessive and hence unlawful."
Though a separate issue of the letter's copyright will still need to be decided at trial, Markle was excited about this pivotal step. Along with this news, Markle released a statement saying, "After two long years of pursuing litigation, I am grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday to account for their illegal and dehumanizing practices. She continued, "These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and The Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence. For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep."
The Duchess then concluded, "I share this victory with each of you — because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better."