Meghan Markle to be paid £1 damages in privacy battle

Mail On Sunday publisher agrees to pay nominal sum after losing case over letter

The publisher of The Mail On Sunday has agreed to pay the Duchess of Sussex £1 nominal damages for misuse of private information, plus an undisclosed sum for copyright infringement, after a court privacy battle, a document shows.

Meghan sued Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), which is also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a "personal and private" letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle in August 2018, on the grounds of misuse of private information and copyright infringement.

The duchess won her case last year, when a UK high court judge ruled in her favour without a full trial, and court of appeal judges subsequently dismissed an appeal by Associated Newspapers.

Some detail on the money the duchess will receive as a result emerged on Wednesday, when a written case order, which summarises the conclusion of the court of appeal litigation, was made public.


The appeal judges’ order also said Associated Newspapers would pay the lawyers’ bills run up by the duchess during the appeal litigation.

Judges said those legal costs would be assessed if not agreed.

Meghan’s spokesperson described the undisclosed sum for copyright infringement as “substantial” and said it would be donated to charity.

They said the duchess was clear from the beginning that this case was primarily about the difference between right and wrong.

The spokesperson added that, after winning the case on a summary judgment, Meghan chose to recover the profit the paper had made from the letter, relating to copyright, rather than a financial remedy of damages regarding the privacy part of the case.

January deadline

The appeal judges’ order said Associated Newspapers had agreed to pay the £1 nominal damages for misuse of private information and the “confidential sum” for copyright infringement by January 7th.

Judges also said Associated Newspapers should pay £300,000 of the duchess’s legal costs, on account, by the same date.

The judges’ written order was released to journalists by lawyers representing Associated Newspapers.

A lawyer representing the duchess had said, at an earlier stage of the dispute, that she would be willing to cap damages for misuse of private information.

Ian Mill QC said, at a court hearing last year, that Meghan was willing to “cap her damages” for misuse of private information “at a nominal award”, if the court would order “an account of profits”, evidence of how much the publisher gained financially from its publication of the letter’s contents, in relation to the infringement of the duchess’s copyright. – PA