Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Call in to First Hearing in Court Case Against British Tabloids

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex called in at 4 a.m. their time to the virtual procedural hearing.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's battle with the British media has officially begun. On Friday, a procedural hearing in the duchess' court case against the Mail on Sunday was held virtually in front of Justice Mark Warby, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The case began at 10:30 a.m. GMT and the Sussexes' team told NBC News that the couple got up at 4 a.m. PT in order to call in to part of the proceedings from their new residence in Los Angeles. 

Meghan's legal council, David Sherborne, argued on her behalf during the "strike out" hearing, which was called for by the Mail on Sunday. The hearing was an effort on the publication's part to get Meghan's claims that they acted dishonestly omitted from the upcoming larger court case. 

Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday and its publisher, Associated Newspapers, for publishing a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, shortly after her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. 

Meghan's legal team plans to argue that the publishing of the letter was not only a violation of several laws, but that the Mail on Sunday cherry-picked portions of its content to manipulate readers. 

Though no official date has been set for the trial yet, Justice Warby said on Friday that he hoped to make a decision on the hearing within the week. 

This isn't the only step the couple has taken against the press. Earlier this month, they announced that they would no longer be working with four British publications now that they have stepped down as working members of the royal family. 

"While the world is engaged in a fight against COVID-19, Meghan and Harry are engaged in a fight against the British press," royal expert Katie Nicholl previously told ET. "They really are not backing down, they wrote to the newspaper editors of four major popular tabloid publications over here in the United Kingdom saying that they would have zero engagement with these publications." 

And though many have criticized the couple for their timing amid the ongoing global crisis, Nicholl added that part of that was out of their control. 

"In defense of the Sussexes, this timing I don't think has just come out of thin air," she said. "We have got this unprecedented court case coming up on Friday. I think clearly the Sussexes have felt that this is the right opportunity to make it clear that not only are they gonna go to court with a sector of the British media, they are going to stop engaging with several publications." 

For more from the former royals, watch the clip below: