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Meghan Markle postpones privacy trial for nine months on 'confidential' grounds

The High Court trial had been due to take place in January 2021

meghan markle high court case© Photo: Getty Images
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: October 29, 2020
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A High Court judge has accepted the Duchess of Sussex's application to postpone the date of the full trial in the case she has brought against Associated Newspapers. 

The trial date provisionally set for 11 January 2021 has now been vacated and a new date is set to be confirmed for autumn 2021 after Meghan's legal team gave a "confidential ground" as to why a postponement was needed.

However, the Duchess lost a bid to stop a royal biography about her and husband Prince Harry being used by the Mail On Sunday as part of its defence. 

Meghan has also been granted permission to apply for a "summary judgment" in January 2021, which if successful would mean that a judge would rule on the case without the need for a full trial. 

READ: Prince Harry makes powerful admission about wife Meghan Markle

WATCH: Harry and Meghan: From the UK to the West Coast

Meghan, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers (ANL), publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over articles from February 2019, which featured parts of a "private and confidential" letter from the Duchess to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

A judge ruled in September that the Mail On Sunday can rely on a recent royal biography Finding Freedom in its defence to Meghan's privacy claim.

But the Duchess lost the bid to appeal such an inclusion during the hearing on Thursday. 

MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 'lively' son Archie being raised in their 'forever home'

finding freedom© Photo: Getty Images

Finding Freedom was published in August

At the September hearing, lawyers for the Duchess denied she "collaborated" with authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand for their royal biography Finding Freedom, and argued that references in the book, published in August, were simply "extracts from the letter lifted from the defendant's own articles".

A costs and case management hearing, before Judge Francesca Kaye, will also take place on Thursday afternoon.

Meghan previously won a bid in to keep secret the identities of five friends who gave an anonymous interview to PEOPLE magazine. 

Mr Justice Warby ruled that Meghan's friends will remain anonymous "for the time being at least," in the judgement given in August.

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