Legal Experts warned that there would be a reduction in freedom of speech after the appeal judge sided with the Duchess in privacy disputes she had with a newspaper.

Appeal Court upheld the High Court’s decision that Meghan had an “reasonable expectation of privacy” over a letter sent to Thomas Markle (her estranged American dad).

The Mail’s appeal was denied by The Mail’s judges. They stated that she had suffered a miscommunication and that her apology to The Mail did not impact the outcome.

After a long legal battle, the newspaper was able to defend its rights to publish excerpts from the correspondence in February 2019.

Yesterday, Meghan (40) used Meghan’s court victory against the Press to attack the Press. She claimed that the judgement should result in a “restructuring” of the tabloid industry.

Lawyers and media professionals said that the decision set a dangerous precedent by expanding the privacy rights to the benefit of the “rich and powerful”.

The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that Meghan Markle (picutred) had a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' over a letter written to her estranged father Thomas

Appeal Court upheld the High Court’s decision that Meghan (picutred), had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” over a written letter to Thomas her estranged father.

Matthew Dando is a Wiggin partner and said that the judgement had’very concerning implications for freedom of speech’.

The Court of Appeal presumptively raised the privacy rights of the duchess over issues of public interest or freedom of expression by preventing important evidence from being heard about the preparation of her letter.

“This decision raises concern that privacy laws allow public figures to choose what information can be published about them, and how they manipulate the media narrative.”

“It creates a dangerous precedent in that anyone who argues against this status quo may never be entitled to even test the claimant’s evidence before a court of law.”

Mark Stephens (a media expert and partner in law firm Howard Kennedy) stated that the court had’shifted boundaries’ regarding privacy expectations. 

He explained that it did not matter to her whether or not she wanted to publish information, but she still has the right to privacy.

“Essentially this leads to the point that the powerful and wealthy can get their PR firms to present an image of a primped, preen image. It is very difficult for news agencies to provide an alternative narrative.

He stated that there was a solid argument to suggest that Mail on Sunday had the right to at minimum a trial in order to obtain disclosure, cross-examine witnesses, as well as for Meghan to conduct the same thing and to examine the evidence. This is how she can present herself without the need for a trial.

David Yelland is a former editor for The Sun and now heads communications company Kitchen Table Partners. He described Meghan’s attacks on The Press to be ‘extraordinary.

He stated, “There will not be many powerful people that have looked at the judgment and won’t be happy,”

“There is no doubt that privacy over the last ten year has become the preserve of the wealthy.”

Judges threw out an appeal by The Mail on Sunday and said an 'unfortunate lapse of memory' by the duchess (pictured with Harry) that led to her apologising did not affect the decision

On Sunday, judges rejected an appeal from The Mail. They said that the duchess had suffered a ‘unfortunate memory lapse’ and she had apologised.

Yesterday’s case was brought up in the House of Commons after Martin Docherty, Scottish Nationalist MP, asked Jacob Rees Mogg, Leader of House, to congratulate her.

Rees Mogg responded: “It’s concerning that the wealthy and powerful can use court to protect private lives when other people can’t.” Anything that restricts freedom speech would concern me deeply.

John Whittingdale is the Tory MP for culture and was ex-chairman the culture select panel. He said, “That courts are using the law to grant the right to privacy to the courts without the parliament considering what should occur is very concerning.” It has been an ongoing concern.

The Mail launched a case against the duchess on Sunday, claiming that the handwritten letter she wrote to her father following her 2018 marriage to Prince Harry was too private.

It was also claimed by her that she had published parts of the article, which infringed on her copyright. The Mail on Sunday (the sister newspaper to the Daily Mail) had challenged an older High Court ruling made by Lord Justice Warby. Meghan was awarded victory in a “summary judgment” in February, without any trial. 

Yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision was upheld by Sir Geoffrey Vos and Dame Victoria Sharp, as well as Lord Justice Bean. The judges ruled that Meghan’s contents were “personal, private, and not matters legitimately of public interest”.

Associated Newspapers published Sunday’s Mail on Sunday and stated that it is considering appealing to the Supreme Court.

They argued Meghan had written the letter in knowing that it was going to be public. However, details about Meghan were leaked to Finding Freedom authors.

Sunday’s Mail reported that Mr Markle had a right to reply in his articles to false and damaging claims made by the Mail. This was after information regarding the letter was previously provided to People magazine, the US by Meghan’s close friends.

In a favorable way to Meghan, the magazine revealed that the letter was first published in the public domain. It also accused Markle of “cruelly cold shouldering” her just before the wedding. 

Lawyers from Associated Newspapers argued against the People article claiming that it misrepresented the letter the duchess wrote to her father in love and as a gesture of reconciliation. 


It’s a win for everyone who ever felt afraid to speak up for the right. 

This win may be a precedent-setting victory, but what is most important is our collective courage to transform a tabloid business that encourages cruelty and profiteers to create pain and lies.

This lawsuit has been an integral part of my view on right and wrong from the beginning. This case was treated by the defendant as an unruly game.

As they continued to drag it out, they were able to twist facts and manipulate public opinion (even during the appeal). This makes a seemingly straightforward case extremely complicated in order generate more headlines for the newspaper and increase sales.

Since the beginning of this project, almost three years ago, I’ve been patient in the face deceit, intimidation and calculated attacks.

Today, the courts ruled in my favour again – cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law.

The defendant has been held accountable by the courts, and I believe that everyone will do the exact same. It’s still very relevant to your daily life. It could happen to you tomorrow. 

These bad practices do not happen in an isolated instance.


The Court of Appeal’s decision is disappointing.

We believe that judgment must be made only on the evidence presented at trial.

It is important that cross-examination was conducted properly, and no evidence has been used to challenge the legitimacy of the Duchess.

People magazine had published an attack against Mr Markle based upon false reports from friends of the Duchess, which incorrectly described the love letter as a loving one. We wanted to make it clear that this was not the case.

People magazine as well as the letter seriously misrepresented why Mr Markle was not at the wedding.

These issues were corrected by the articles, which also raised questions of public interest such as the causes for the breakup between her and her father.

We’re considering appealing to the Supreme Court.

The High Court judge failed to evaluate the evidence available in full trials, and the possibility of cross-examination by the duchess.

Sir Geoffrey dismissed the appeal and stated that it was difficult to discern what evidence might have been presented at trial which would have changed the circumstances. 

In a 31-page Court of Appeal ruling, the Court of Appeal ruled that it might have been reasonable for Mail on Sunday to disclose an insignificant portion of the mail to respond to inaccuracies within the People article. 

It said that it wasn’t necessary to publish the contents of half of its letter across five articles.

According to the judgment, the contents of the letter are private at the time they were written, and then publicized. Even if claimant realized that her father could leak them, the verdict was not surprising. 

Meghan’s legal teams had objected to the appeal, arguing the High Court arrived at the right conclusion on the evidence.

A former top royal aide presented new evidence at court hearings last week that suggested the letter had been sent with public consumption in mind to Markle.

Andrew Caldecott QC from Associated Newspapers stated to the Court of Appeal, that Mr Knauf’s evidence demonstrated her privacy case had been based on a false premise. 

Meghan later apologized for forgetting to inform Mr Knauf about the Finding Freedom biography. 

Although Harry had stated previously that the duchess and her did not collaborate with the writers, the duchess said she had “forgotten” to give details.

Although acknowledging the fact that this issue was “at most an unfortunate lapse of her memory”, the Court of Appeal found yesterday that it did not have any bearing on the appeal grounds. 

A spokesperson from Associated Newspapers claimed that the Court of Appeal had made a wrong decision.

We believe that judgment must be made only on evidence presented at trial.

“No cross-examination has taken place, and it is not necessary, particularly when Mr Knauf’s evidence raises questions about the credibility of the duchess.” 


Last month, Meghan was forced to apologise to the Court of Appeal when it emerged she had briefed the authors of a flattering biography – after initially suggesting she had not. 

Lawyers for the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail’s sister paper, yesterday said such issues raise questions over her credibility – and argued the evidence should be tested in a full court hearing. 

This is how the Mail looks at 10 questions that can be answered in a full trial.

1. Meghan did Meghan inform her friend, who was speaking to People magazine, about her contents in her letter to Thomas Markle (her father)? It was summarized in the following extract: ‘Dad. I’m so heartbroken. You are my best friend. One father is my only. I need you to stop pleading with me via the media and help us repair our relationship. A friend mentioned in the magazine that Markle had cold-shouldered Meghan prior to her wedding, and also lied about his daughter closing him out of her lives.

2. Was that also the case with Finding Freedom?

3. How did the People interview get set up? Did Meghan know about it – and did she authorise it?

4. Meghan stated that she authorized someone to meet with the Finding Freedom authors to tell them the story of her letter to her dad, in which she asked him to cease speaking to the media. Which person was it, and who did Meghan speak to?

5. Which other details were provided by Finding Freedom regarding Meghan’s father and relationship?

6. Jason Knauf (ex-communications chief for Meghan and Harry) quit working in March 2019 He testified that he doesn’t know if the author of Finding Freedom had continued to cooperate with him after his departure. What happened to it, if yes?

7. Former Sussex adviser Samantha Cohen, deputy communications director Christian Jones and PR guru Sara Latham confirmed via lawyers last month that one or more of them had evidence about the writing of the letter to Thomas Markle – and whether Meghan anticipated it might come into the public domain. Was their evidence admissible at trial?

8. What were the Senior Royals that spoke to Meghan regarding how they would handle the matter of her father talking to the Press

9. Importantly, Meghan didn’t go to visit her father in the manner suggested by the royals. A move like this could have prevented the necessity of a formal letter being sent.

10. People magazine’s account of Meghan’s letter to her father was incorrectly reported by Meghan. Why didn’t she complain? These matters were not corrected by her public statements.