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Meghan Markle wins copyright claim against Mail On Sunday over letter to her father

Five articles were published in print and online in February 2019

Danielle Stacey

The Duchess of Sussex has won her copyright claim against the publisher of the Mail On Sunday over the publication of a handwritten letter to her estranged father.

Meghan, 39, sued Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL) over a series of articles which reproduced parts of a "heartfelt" letter sent to Mr Markle, 76, in August 2018. She claimed for breach of copyright, infringement of her privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act. 

In February, the Duchess was granted a summary judgment in a relation to her privacy claim, negating the need to go to trial for that part of the case. 

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At Wednesday's remote hearing, Lord Justice Warby granted summary judgment in relation to the remaining parts of Meghan's copyright claim, after lawyers acting on behalf of the Queen said it does not belong to the Crown. 

ANL previously said it believed Jason Knauf – formerly communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – was a co-author of the letter, which it argued meant the letter belonged to the Crown.

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Meghan was granted a summary judgment in relation to her copyright claim

But, on Wednesday, the High Court heard that Mr Knauf has "emphatically" denied being a co-author and that lawyers representing "the Keeper of the Privy Purse, acting on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen" told Meghan's solicitors they "did not consider the Crown to be the copyright owner".

ANL was previously ordered to print a statement on its front page and a notice on page three of the paper stating it "infringed [the Duchess of Sussex's] copyright" by publishing parts of a "personal and private" letter to her estranged father.

But the front-page statement about Meghan's victory in her copyright claim was put on hold, to allow ANL time to seek permission to appeal.

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