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Meghan Markle issues statement after winning privacy battle: 'Tomorrow it could be you'

Associated Newspapers lost its appeal, and the Duchess of Sussex calls it a victory “for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.”
The Duchess of Sussex, the former Meghan Markle, responds after Associated Newspapers loses its appeal in privacy case over letter she wrote to her father. Tolga Akmen / AFP via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is celebrating a legal win that she says goes beyond her own privacy lawsuit.

On Thursday, Associated Newspapers, the publisher of Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, lost its appeal against an earlier High Court ruling that had determined the company violated the privacy of the former Meghan Markle when it published portions of a letter she wrote to her estranged father.

“This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right,” Meghan wrote in a statement released 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.”

In February, the High Court ruled in Meghan's favor after she filed a suit against the British media company over five articles that were published in Feb. 2019, each featuring reproductions a handwritten letter she'd sent her father shortly after her wedding to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in 2018.

The judge in the initial case called the newspaper's decisions to use the letters as "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful." Associated Newspapers was asked to make an "interim payment" to cover Meghan's legal costs at the time, with further "financial remedies" to be dealt with later. The publication was also ordered to issue a front-page apology to the duchess, which has not yet been published due to the appeal process.

Associated Newspapers filed an appeal against the ruling in Nov. 2021, arguing that Meghan's letter to her father was not written as an “intimate communication for her father’s eyes only," according to the Associated Press.

The Court of Appeal judge Geoffrey Vos reaffirmed the original ruling on Thursday, noting that the details published by Associated Newspapers “were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest." The appeal was dismissed.

In her statement, Meghan praised the court for its decision.

“From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong,” the duchess wrote. “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.”

The former Meghan Markle also called for change in the tabloid industry.

“Today, the courts ruled in my favor — again — cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law,” she wrote. “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. These harmful practices don’t happen once in a blue moon — they are a daily fail that divide us, and we all deserve better.”