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Meghan Markle is celebrating a victory in court after a lengthy legal battle with Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Mail on Sunday. On Thursday, the Court of Appeal in London ruled in favor of the 40-year-old Duchess of Sussex. The decision means the case will not proceed to trial and that Meghan is now due financial damages as well as a public apology that must appear on the front page of the Mail on Sunday and the homepage of the Mail Online.
The case originally stemmed from the Mail on Sunday printing parts of a 2018 private letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The judge found that "the contents of the letter were private and concerned personal matters that were not matters of legitimate public interest," adding that Meghan deserved a "reasonable expectation of privacy." The court noted that "there was no prospect of a different result being reached after a trial."
"This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right," Meghan said in a statement on Thursday. "While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create."
Prince Harry's wife went on to add, "From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules. The longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers — a model that rewards chaos above truth. In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks."
Associated Newspapers also reacted to the judgement in a statement, saying, "We are very disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal. It is our strong view that judgement should be given only on the basis of evidence tested at trial, and not on a summary basis in a heavily contested case, before even disclosure of documents. No evidence has been tested in cross-examination, as it should be, especially when Mr. Knauf's evidence raises issues as to the Duchess's credibility."
Last month, new evidence was presented by Jason Knauf, Meghan's former communications secretary, saying the duchess "asked me to review the text of the letter, saying 'obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked.'"
Knauf also alleged that Meghan even asked whether she should address her father in the letter as "Daddy," adding that "in the unfortunate event that it leaked, it would pull at the heartstrings."
In her own written evidence statement at the time, Meghan said she had not believed that her father "would sell or leak the letter, primarily because it would not put him in a good light."
"To be clear, I did not want any of it to be published, and wanted to ensure that the risk of it being manipulated or misleadingly edited was minimized, were it to be exploited," she said.
Associated Newspapers added on Thursday that they are "considering an appeal to the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom."