LONDON — In a major legal victory for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, in their bitter feud with the British tabloids, a High Court judge ruled on Thursday that The Mail on Sunday had invaded Meghan’s privacy by publishing a private letter she had sent to her father.
The judge, Mark Warby, ruled that Meghan, who is also known as the Duchess of Sussex, had “a reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private.” He added, “The Mail articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”
At the heart of the case is an anguished, five-page letter that the duchess wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, a former Hollywood lighting designer, in August 2018, four months after he was a no-show at her wedding to Prince Harry.
In the letter, she accused her father of breaking her heart into a “million pieces” by speaking to the tabloids about their estrangement while refusing to take her phone calls.
The Mail obtained the letter, presumably from Mr. Markle, and published it in February 2019. The tabloid’s owner, Associated Newspapers, contended that Mr. Markle had been under no legal obligation to keep the letter private and that the duchess, as a public figure, should not have expected it to remain confidential.
The ruling spares the Duchess of Sussex the prospect of testifying against her father. But the judge ruled that she would still have to go trial on the issue of copyright violation.