Meghan Markle just scored a major win in a U.K. courtroom, but it looks like this is more of a moral victory than a financial one.
A judge recently ruled that Associated Newspapers Limited, which owns the Mail On Sunday, will have to pay the Duchess of Sussex a whopping £1 in damages (about $1.37 in US dollars) for breaching the ex-royal’s privacy.
The former Suits actress sued ANL for publishing a series of articles that included excerpts from communications she had made to her now-estranged father Thomas Markle in 2018 as Meghan and Prince Harry prepared to tie the knot. The Duchess’ lawsuit argued that the publication stepped over the line when it made parts of her private letter public. The newspaper claimed they had a right to release those excerpts once five of Meghan’s friends referenced the original letter while contributing to an article in People.
The decision on damages follows a roller-coaster legal battle that saw the High Court first ruling in favor of Meghan before ANL lodged an appeal. That appeal was denied, as was a later request from ANL to bring the case to trial. Another challenge came in the form of new evidence provided by Meghan and Harry’s former communications secretary Jason Knauf who suggested Meghan knew that the letter might be leaked and wrote it anyway, basically erasing any expectation of privacy. The challenge was eventually dismissed.
In addition to forking over a pound note, ANL is also on the hook for an unspecified amount of money the court awarded Markle for copyright infringement — a supposedly substantial amount Markle’s spokesperson says will be donated to charity — and they’ll have to cover Markle’s estimated seven-figure legal bill as well. While the financial award might not seem like much, the fact that the Mail On Sunday also agreed to print a front-page statement acknowledging the Duchess’s win and forfeited the right to further appeals should leave the mother of two feeling pretty happy.
Based on a statement Meghan released last month in response to the initial ruling, it seems she’s quite satisfied with the outcome. “This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right,” wrote Markle. “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.”
She also called out the Mail On Sunday and its parent company for attempting to drag out the legal proceedings so they could “twist facts and manipulate the public…in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers — a model that rewards chaos above truth.”
Markle and her husband famously stepped back from royal life in 2020 and relocated to California where they currently live with their children, two-year-old son Archie, and a daughter, Lilibet, who will celebrate her first birthday this coming June.