LONDON (AP) –
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, won her remaining copyright claim against a British tabloid publisher on Wednesday for publishing a personal letter she wrote to her estranged father.
Meghan, 39, had already won most of her claim for misuse of private information and copyright infringement against Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline website. The American former actress sued more than five 2019 articles that published large parts of a letter she wrote to her father after marrying Prince Harry in 2018.
In February, a Supreme Court judge found her right, saying that publishing large parts of the handwritten letter was “manifestly excessive” and illegal. The judge granted the Duchess’s request for summary judgment to settle the case, meaning that she won that part of the case without going to court.
But the court had yet to decide whether Meghan was the “sole author” and copyright holder of the letter.
On Wednesday, the judge sided with Meghan’s lawyers over the remaining parts of their copyright claim, after lawyers representing Queen Elizabeth II refuted the defense’s claims that the letter’s copyright belonged to the Crown.
Associated Newspapers Ltd. previously said it believed Jason Knauf, Prince Harry and Meghan’s former communications secretary, was a co-author of the letter, arguing that this meant the letter belonged to the Crown.
Meghan’s attorney Ian Mill told the court that Knauf’s attorneys confirmed he had not written the letter, saying that the defense of the copyright ownership case in the letter was “found to be completely unfounded.”
In his February ruling, Judge Mark Warby said public disclosure of Meghan’s “personal and private letter” to her father Thomas Markle was unlawful.
“Most of what was published was about the plaintiff’s own behavior, her feelings of fear about her father’s behavior, as she saw it, and the resulting rift between them,” he said. “These are inherently private and personal matters.”
Meghan and Harry officially stepped down from their royal duties in March 2020 and moved to California with their young son Archie. The couple have said that the unrelenting scrutiny of the British media was one of the reasons they decided to leave the UK