HRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited 2021] EWCA Civ 1810

December 21, 2021

The Court of Appeal upheld the summary judgment decision of Warby J in HRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 1810 which found that Associated Newspapers Limited had breached the Duchess’ reasonable expectation of privacy with the publication of a letter from her to her father Thomas Markle.


The court summarised the facts as:

  • Mr Markle did not attend the wedding of the Duke and the Duchess on 19 May 2018 [14].
  • He was admitted to hospital days beforehand for emergency heart surgery.
  • Text messages from the DuchessĀ  made it plain thatĀ  before the wedding Mr Markle behaved in ways which caused her

“concern because of the publicity they were likely to and did cause, and the impact on her, [the Duke], and [Mr Markle]”.[14]

    • Mr Markle:
      • engaging with the media (e.g. a front-page Mail on Sunday report on 13 May 2018 was headed “Meghan’s Dad staged photos with the paparazzi”, and reported that Mr Markle was “colluding with the paparazzi to stage a series of lucrative photo opportunities”, for which he apologised by text to the Duchess on 14 May 2018).[15]
      • being well aware that the Duke and Duchess wanted him to avoid engaging with the media, and that all their correspondence was personal and private in character [16].
      • continuing, thereafter, to have dealings with the media which resulted in press articles. The Articles themselves referred to “a series of damaging interviews” given by Mr Markle [16].
    • The Duke texting Mr Markle on 17 May 2018 asking him to “stop talking to the press for your sake and hers”, and expressing concern that Mr Markle had not “returned any of our 20+ calls since we all spoke on Saturday morning” [15]. the run-up to the wedding was fractious, revealing substantial differences of approach to dealing with the media.

The letter

  • The Letter was sent on 27 August 2018 with bold text identifying words published in the Articles, and italicised text being the judge’s interpolations [18]:

Read the rest of this entry »

Verified by MonsterInsights