Duchess of Sussex brings bid to resolve privacy claim against Mail on Sunday

The Duchess of Sussex is bringing a bid to have her privacy action against the Mail On Sunday over the publication of a letter to her estranged father decided without a trial.

Meghan, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over an article which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to 76-year-old Thomas Markle in August 2018.

At a hearing on Thursday, the duchess’s lawyers will ask a High Court judge to rule in her favour and strike out the publisher’s defence to her claim.

Mr Justice Warby will also hear an application for the trial, which is due to be heard over 10 days in January, to be postponed.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

The issues will be considered at an online hearing – the first part of which will be in private.

A costs and case management hearing, before Judge Francesca Kaye, will also take place on Thursday afternoon.

Sections of the letter were published in the newspaper and online in February last year, and it was announced the duchess would be bringing legal action in October.

The headline on the article read: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”

The duchess is seeking damages from ANL, the newspaper’s publisher and operator of the website, for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess’s claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

Following the latest preliminary hearing last month, a judge ruled the publisher could rely on a recent biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, called Finding Freedom, in its defence of the claim.

Lawyers for the duchess will also bring an appeal against that ruling at the hearing before Mr Justice Warby on Thursday.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over five articles, two in the Mail On Sunday and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019.