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Meghan Markle’s Copyright Claim to Letter to Father Upheld; Appeal of British Tabloid Turned Down

The Court of Appeal in London ruled in favour of Meghan Markle in the appeal filed by British Tabloid, The Mail On Sunday, against the High Court’s ruling granting the Duchess of Sussex copyright claims to the letter she wrote to her father in 2019.


In 2020, Prince Harry and Markle filed a lawsuit against The Mail On Sunday, managed by the Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), for the misuse of her private information and breach of copyright.

The High Court had ruled in February that the publisher had breached Markle’s privacy by reproducing a large portion of the handwritten letter she had sent her father, Thomas Markle, a few months after she married Prince Harry.

Markle had later won the copyright claims to the letter in May.

Following this, ANL appealed against the ruling in November. The publisher claimed that the “letter was crafted specifically with the possibility of public consumption in mind, because the claimant appreciated Mr Markle might disclose it to the media.”

A former British Royal family aide, Jason Knauf, who served as the former communications chief, had noted in a witness statement that Markle was meticulous in her word choice as she had anticipated that the letter might get leaked.

The Mail’s lawyer also cited text messages sent from Markle to Knauf which said she had decided to use the word “Daddy” to begin the letter because it “would pull at the heartstrings.”

However, dismissing the appeal, senior judge Geoffrey Vos told the court on Thursday that “the Duchess had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter. Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest.”


In a statement released by Markle’s representatives shortly after her win, the Duchess said, “Today, the courts ruled in my favor – again – cementing that The Mail On Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law.”

She added, “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. The courts have held the defendant to account and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not. Tomorrow it could be you.”

The publishers were disappointed with the court’s decision and considered filing for an appeal with the UK Supreme Court, according to the AP report.