Meghan Markle bids to postpone High Court privacy trial

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Meghan Markle bids to postpone her High Court privacy action trial over letter to her estranged father Thomas published by the Mail On Sunday

Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd over August 2018 articleMoS reproduced parts of handwritten letter sent to 76-year-old Thomas MarkleHearing to consider costs and case management issues was due for tomorrowBut judge will instead now hear application by Meghan for trial to be put back

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Published: 13:18 GMT, 28 October 2020 | Updated: 13:51 GMT, 28 October 2020

The Duchess of Sussex is bringing a bid to postpone the trial of her High Court privacy action against the Mail On Sunday over the publication of a letter to her estranged father.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over an article in August 2018 which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to 76-year-old Thomas Markle.

There have been a number of preliminary hearings in the case so far, and a hearing to consider costs and case management issues was due to take place tomorrow, ahead of a 10-day trial due to start in January.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9 this year, on their final royal engagement before they quit royal life

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers Limited over an article which reproduced parts of a handwritten note she had sent to her father Thomas Markle (pictured together) in August 2018

Thomas Markle shows a souvenir he keeps on mantelpiece  of Harry and Meghan from their wedding he was unable to attend, during his Channel 5 documentary in January this year

But instead of that hearing, Mr Justice Warby will now hear an application by the duchess for the trial to be put back to a later date.

According to a court document, the application will be considered at an online hearing - the first part of which will be in private.

Sections of the letter were published in the newspaper and online in February last year, and it was announced the duchess would be bringing legal action in October.

The headline on the article read: 'Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan's rift with a father she says has 'broken her heart into a million pieces'.'

A court artist's sketch of Mr Justice Warby (bottom left) Antony White QC (bottom right), for ANL and Meghan's lawyer David Sherborne during a virtual High Court hearing on April 24

Harry and Meghan after their wedding in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018

Mr Justice Warby will now hear an application by the duchess for the trial to be put back

The 39-year-old duchess is seeking damages from ANL, the newspaper's publisher and operator of the website, for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess's claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

Following the latest preliminary hearing last month, a judge ruled the publisher could rely on a recent biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, called Finding Freedom, in its defence of the claim.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over five articles, two in the Mail On Sunday and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019 and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.

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