Thursday, 2 December 2021

The Duchess of Sussex Hails Court of Appeal Victory

The Duchess of Sussex heralded a decision by the Court of Appeal, which ruled against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) in her privacy and copyright case. In a powerfully worded statement, the Duchess wrote, "This is not just a victory for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right." For Meghan, the lawsuit has always been "an important measure of right versus wrong". In reference to the tactics and distractions used in the appeal, Meghan said they made "a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers — a model that rewards chaos above truth".


The Duchess continued: "In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks. Today, the courts ruled in my favor — again — cementing that The Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law."

The courts have held the defendant to account and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it's not. Tomorrow it could be you. These harmful practices don't happen once in a blue moon - they are a daily fail that divide us and we all deserve better." - Meghan

 The BBC reports:

'In February, the High Court had ruled against the newspaper group on the issue of privacy and copyright - saying the issues in the case were so clear cut that there was no need for a full hearing.

Associated Newspapers was refused permission to appeal against the decision but went to the Court of Appeal in an attempt to get the original ruling overturned.

But on Thursday, judges at the appeal said it was hard to see what evidence at a trial would have altered the situation.

They added: "The judge had correctly decided that, whilst it might have been proportionate to publish a very small part of the letter for that purpose, it was not necessary to publish half the contents of the letter."

Journalist Brian Cathcart has offered astute analysis throughout the case:


 The Guardian reports:

'Meghan's doctors advised her to avoid stress, she said. But the process was “extremely stressful, and it took its toll physically and emotionally”. When she discovered she was pregnant for a third time – with daughter Lilibet – she applied for and was granted a delay in proceedings.

She felt, she said in one witness statement, that ANL was “doing everything it could to make this litigation as intrusive as possible”.

Her determination to take on the defendant, she said after Thursday’s victory, was because she saw the lawsuit as an “important measure of right versus wrong”.

One member of her legal team, Jenny Afia, of Schillings, has said the Mail on Sunday’s publication of extensive extracts of the letter was “almost the final straw after this long pattern of disturbing behaviour.'

What's next? Byline Investigates writes:

' The matter now returns to the High Court, where Lord Justice Warby has yet to conclude the process of determining how the Duchess is to be compensated for the harm done to her. She is not seeking damages but an ‘account of profits’: in other words she wants to be compensated on the basis of how much money the Mail on Sunday made from its law-breaking.

Also to be resolved is the matter of costs. Associated has already made an interim payment of £450,000 to the Duchess to reimburse her costs in bringing the action. The final sum, now including the costs of fighting the appeal, is likely to be considerably higher.'

The unanimous decision will have been welcomed by Meghan, Harry and their legal team, who have fought a long and arduous battle. Those following coverage would have been forgiven for thinking it was in fact Meghan on trial. Despite the media circus, it came to this, and was aptly put by presiding judge, Sir Geoffrey Vos, who said: "For the reasons I have given. I would admit the new evidence filed by both parties and dismiss Associated Newspapers’ appeal on all the grounds for which permission was granted." It's taken a great deal of courage and conviction to see this through. In many ways, settling may have been the easier route, but as Meghan said, this was about right versus wrong.

55 comments:

  1. I am so happy for this victory. Meghan and Harry have been incredibly brave in the face of their constant flogging by the tabloids. (I loved that Meghan used the words "daily fail" in her statement! LOL)

    Does the daily fail want to take it to the Supreme Court only to continue to sell more newspapers and get more clicks for profit? Shame!

    Thank you for reporting this victorious story, Charlotte.

    R

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  2. It is indeed not just about Meghan. Does this affect when the tabloids print stories that are fake, which have been written about almost all of the royals, or at least those for whom an ugly story would be welcomed by readers? This has been a really nasty experience and has brought out some players who should be ashamed of themselves, including Meghan's "father." I hope the case is not referred to the Supreme Court but can end now.

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    1. Totally agree with you allison and again for this Mr. Thomas Markle, really he is so pathetic! When you get to the stage where you are selling your blood for money, then it leaves me speechless ...!

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    2. Ghilou, what is so disingenuous is that the father has other grandchildren, but they claim to not ever see him or even like him.

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  3. Meghan has won, again! I hope the more MOS drag this out the more MOS has to pay. Meghan has had to deal with this while pregnant, a miscarriage, and pregnant again with rainbow baby.
    Congratulations Meghan! Up next, Harry

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    1. I'm very happy about the judgement......

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  4. I want to make an observation that just dawned on me. Perhaps others have known this all along. I don't know if this is appropriate for your public blog or not.

    We all know that the Royal family and the grey suits tried to destroy Diana because her light outshone the heir. They did the same thing to Meghan and Harry, whose charisma and light outshone the heirs.

    The Royal family, with the help of their tabloid press, have worked hard over the years to turn their distinct lack of charisma into the "virtue" of "stateliness" and "royal etiquette and protocol."

    It's quite a joke, actually.

    R

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    1. It is possible to rejoice with them and at the same time not blame all Harry's family by saying they tried to destroy Meghan and Harry. There is no real evidence of this. Remember the heartfelt "Thanks Pa " at their wedding? I believe that the Queen and Prince of Wales together with William and Kate genuinely did their best to help them, but Harry obviously was more traumatised than they realised and he was unable to help Meghan cope with the public criticism that all public figures get from time to time.

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    2. @23:29 "virtue of stateliness" and "royal etiquette and protocol"

      Brilliant insight. I had not thought of it from that angle.

      I am still trying to digest the fact that a member of Kensington Palace staff who is supposed to help Meghan seem to voluntarily offer evidence for the Daily Mail against her.

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    3. I agree with you 100%, how can someone still working for the royal family(Kensington palace) testify in court against Meghan....... I think is time we have a healthy discussion around this subject matter(Jason help the mail against Meghan)

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    4. for your employee to testify and help the daily mail in court against your sister in-law in which lead to the process of revealing exchange of official text message in work capacity....... There is a serious breakdown...... No wonder harry said if you know what I know ,you will do the same thing is doing

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    5. That is an apposite insight 23:29. I believe you are on to something. Bad press and horrific falsehoods might well be useful to the maintenance of a good image (keep mum and carry on) for boring people whose function is symbolic, grossly expensive and constantly under attack from republican sentiments.

      Otherwise, how can anyone explain the continued maintenance of the Royal Rota system in the face of malicious abuse in the same press? It would be simple enough to strike a paper which prints blatant falsehoods or salacious images from the list.

      The RF has that power but consistently fails to use it. But this way acts of subversion on the part of various offices which leak information about other offices within the Palace is on and extremely useful to the gray suits and even the tiaras. Hmmm.

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    6. I’m asking this as a genuine question, what would be the solution with the Royal Rota. I’m no expert on its role or how it functions. The sharing of photography makes sense to me, but I don’t understand the reporting aspect. Does the Royal Family just simply eliminate it?

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    7. There is no eliminating it unless the royal family, institution stops taking taxpayer funds. The rationale for the Rota is the UK media is the connection from the royals to their supine public. One choice the royal family, institution could do is change how the palaces use rota, media to undermine each other. They need to stop being co-conspirators with their tormentors to start the path to changing the culture. The royal family, institution, British media are stuck in destructive cycle that Harry knew didn't work for him.

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    8. I don’t get the problem. If you are called by court to testify- that’s what you do. If they ask about your employer you answer. No NDA protects you or them from it. I am more concerned that it took a second round because all of his testimony should have been out the first time. Everyone and their dog knew that they were involved. That’s how the book was promoted in the very beginning of the writing process and they only denied any involvement after it was released (and ridiculed). I mean, how would they have gotten all those very intime intel?

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    9. To R (23:29)
      I agree with your observations. It’s a version of the Cinderella story. It’s as old as the hills: destroy that with which you cannot compete.
      Renee

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    10. Anon 16:20
      You missed the part on mentioned on the legal document where Jason the staff volunteered himself to help the daily mails case the court did not subpoena him
      And also where Meghan made it clear to him again in other legal documents and she did not want to participate regarding the book but as her communication rep she answered questions Jason put forward to her from the authors and he Jason intern did what he had to do
      It would be good for some of us to read the court documents before we comment

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  5. Bravo, Meghan and Harry. Let's hope the House of Windsor looks to their courage and follows their example in dealing with the harassment other Royals experience. To date the tabloids have spread their filth with impunity because they know there will be no pushback from the Palace. Let's hope that changes. Daily fail, indeed. Well put.

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    1. I doubt that , all I see is Windsor warming up to them for better coverage (Prince and the media) coming straight from the royal reporters and Kensington palace employee happily helping fail mail

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  6. Sheryl from BC Canada3 December 2021 at 06:47

    OH well done Meghan, Harry, family and lawyers. Not just for you but for truth and fairness for anyone that the tabloids and false press have smeared. All of this dirty business is coming to light finally and it looks like an accounting is well overdue. :)

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  7. The people in charge of PR are much more powerful than the RF, especially in this age of instant internet propaganda. They appear to run the RY like puppets. Remember how Harry was supposed to meet with his grandmother and found that she was too scheduled to meet? Remember when the end of H&M's first tour was overshadowed by news that the one foundation of H&M and W&K had broken into two? I see that none of Harry's cousins have their lives abused in the press. There are many things, most of which would be lies, that could be printed about the cousins, but they are not. If the heirs were at all hostile to the press, I think the press would have the power to take down the monarchy. It seems perfectly clear, though, that family members get thrown under the bus in exchange for the end prize, and as Mr. Knightly said to Emma, "Badly done." Harry was born to support his brother, and that's not OK. The whole family dynamics are a mess, and the narrative continues to be that Meghan is bad, so therefore the heirs are good -- when they could all be good.

    To address an earlier comment, I don't see how it's OK to expose Meghan's emails -- weren't they made with an anticipation of privacy, too?

    I don't see how Meghan could ever want to return to the UK -- such a hostile family environment. You don't try to reconcile by hating a family member's wife. I hope that at the very least H&M can fight their negative press lies now.

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    1. I wish everybody saying that other members of the RF threw Harry under the bus provided at least for once some proof. If the proof is that some reporter you’re constantly accusing of lying said it then why is he not lying when he/she says that?

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    2. ^all of what Unknown said. -op

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    3. I don’t think Meghan wants to return to UK. There is not much for her there. She is very happy back home.

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    4. To Unknown: they don't care about exposing Meghan's emails, when you have Times reporter V Low admitting he knew she was struggling and the conversation she had with HR but didn't write about it because legal told him it would invade her privacy. Just him knowing invaded Meghan's privacy.

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    5. MD: You're right about Meghan being happy home. I meant to say that I think it would be hard for her to even visit, except that she has some friends there and can stay at Frogmore with Eugenie and her family. I would love to see her visit Markus! :) Christmas would be impossible with all the relatives there; not sure how the Jubilee would work out. I hope they can schedule to private trip between now and the Jubilee, but if enough PR people don't want them to come, they may not be able to see the Queen. Allison in US

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  8. I stated months and months ago that the Queen and POW could have shut this down! People now understand they are not running that show! They are puppets to the gray suits, courtiers et al. They are afraid to release the bullying investigation because of Harry’s book! One joint statement about the abuse Meghan has faced is unjust and we support the Sussexes would shut this down! That’s too much for them to do, so the Rota will soon turn its attention to the working royals! The Sussexes are out of their reach now. New company, new staff, mansion, money and world press that no longer depend on royal experts for commentary!
    Bad Optics from BP and shortsightedness

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  9. I'm sorry to be pedantic, but it isn't correct to refer to Lord Rothermere as Lord Jonathan Rothermere. This sort of thing matters to the English!
    Sarah UK

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    1. Becca in Colorado5 December 2021 at 07:10

      …ok.

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    2. And I think that’s half the problem. An obsessive focus on titles and hierarchy and protocol. I think the BRF the Aristocracy and the English as a whole would do well to consider how to downshift out of this societal model. It serves no one except the people at the top and harms those who are not. It is 2021, and this title framework seems more and more dated with every year that goes by. The fact that the English cling to it is increasingly bizarre.

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    3. That’s actually a little impolite, Anonymous 16:31. But whatever you may think of the English as a whole, I don’t think you can deny that by making a mistake of this sort Meghan is playing right into the hands of those courtiers who think that she’s an unsuitable wife for the Queen’s grandson.

      She’s either saying “I’m a proud American who doesn’t give a fig for your arcane British protocols”, or she genuinely doesn’t know how to refer to a Viscount, hasn’t troubled to make the minimal effort involved in finding out, and doesn’t think it worthwhile appointing an advisor who can correct this type of error. Either possibility is disappointing.
      Sarah UK

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    4. Sarah: There are some differences in how people in the US and the UK refer to common things. It's "He's in hospital" in the UK but "He's in the hospital" in the US. If this sort of mistake makes Meghan unsuitable to marry Prince Harry, then unsuitable she must be. It's probably not a mistake made out of arrogance but just a mistake that is not very important.

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    5. I disagree that it’s impolite to question a social order that benefits a select few for no other reason than their birth. Aristocratic titles are no longer a system anyone should be supportive of. And pointing out Meghan’s perceived improper use of one misses the point and furthers the destructive narrative that ultimately caused her and her husband to leave for their own sanity.

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    6. I think trying to get people's names right is important. There are rules everywhere and a thoughtful person tries to find out so as not to make mistakes. It goes both ways. Anonymous 16:31 thinks UK usage is bizarre, forgetting how touchy people in the US are about certain words, that other English speaking people don't think are important at all.
      I agree with Sarah, either way, not getting a name right shows disdain and lack of interest.

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    7. The impoliteness is in asserting that "the English as a whole would do well to" do anything, particularly when you're writing in the comments section of a blog written by an Englishwoman! And saying what people should and shouldn't be supportive of comes over as somewhat arrogant.

      Of course the whole system of monarchy and aristocracy is a little odd, but that's part of its charm, and one of the things many people find interesting about England and its rich history. Without it, this blog, and its equally excellent sister blog "Duchess Kate" wouldn't exist.

      Sarah UK

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    8. So we are worried about protocol in presenting the name of a "lord" who owns the tabloid that printed this letter, and so many other ugly things? And that makes Meghan unsuitable to be married to a member of a family that has allowed, and continues to allow, lies to be believed? I'm puzzled by the focus on this aspect -- it seems to show a desire to hold onto a system that baffles me. It's fun to read about or watch shows about the aristocracy but it's not a way of life to be accepted. I know the US acts superior in this area, but our "founders" wanted only white men who owned land to be able to vote. We still have that mentality, so the US is no better. There is always the possibility that the man's first name was intentionally included; I don't think Meghan has to follow strict protocol when the UK has made it so well known that she is not wanted there.

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    9. Ok??? I still think arguing over the etiquette of the titles completely misses the point. I do not think stating English society is due a reckoning on this issue is an impolite assertion. It’s a true one IMO. The aristocracy benefits a select few and creates massive inequality at the expense of far more. It’s 2021. The premise of this societal structure no longer holds value. And pedantically lecturing someone on perceived title errors completely misses the big picture issue here. And I would argue is impolite in itself. Should we also lecture Charlotte for running the duchess Kate blog when Kate has asked to be called Catherine? If names are so important? Or is this criticism to point out errors only reserved for the Black American duchess while missing the larger point that the aristocracy and fixation on titles and status is detrimental and toxic to modern society?

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  10. Thank you Charlotte as always for reporting on Meghan's victory. I hope this is the end 🙏

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  11. It is very disturbing that the daily mail is trying to frame the Court of Appeal decision as against Freedom of Press.

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    1. It isn't only the daily mail. There are real questions there: privacy versus free speech, law making power of the judges versus parliament, common law versus European humans right convention. It is a valid debate.

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    2. Dear me it is all about context. By all means raised these issues but separately and do not tied it to the Court of Appeal 's decision on Meghan's case. It is completely out of line and a real disgrace for Daily Mail to pretend to its readers that it is a victim of injustice when their appeal is dismissed in accordance with the well established principles of English law on privacy and copyright.

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    3. Copyright was clearly hers. Privacy was only recognized because the Mail published too many words of the letter, as the judges said. Had they only shared a couple of paragraphs, she would have lost.

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    4. True, Noor. It was a privacy/ copy right case, that's all.Not a victory of right against wrong, nor of Meghan against the whole press. Given her over the top statement, people who ask themselves broader questions could be excused for doing so, couldn't they? It's indeed all about context.
      Anon 21:25

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  12. This was great news to hear. But I have to ask, will the "news" ever again be just the "news"? (i.e.: facts versus fiction?) I'm not sure when exactly everything shifted. Outlets strive to get more "eye balls" but to what avail? Social media has impacted us all. I have my own opinion :-) and am never interested in what news anchors "think" (i.e.: Piers Morgan) but want to know "what the actual facts are" regarding news stories and hope eventually news stations (and channels) get back to delivering news that is important or that we should be notified about. Wish there was a way to get back to reality.

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    1. It’s not that easy. You can look at many things from several angles. There are only few topics where facts will be completely one sided. Also- tabloids don’t report facts or news. I haven’t seen any of those challenged claims on actual professional news programmes- they deal with very different (dare I say: actually important) topics.

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  13. Huge Congratulations to Meghan and Harry!
    How exciting for them to have this well deserved victory. They are out of the dreaded palace and all that really bad behavior. They have a new life and a wonderful family. It is astounding all they have accomplished in less than 2 years. Of course they had the help of powerful friends who believed in them. Thank you Charlotte for reporting all this!
    Renee

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    1. Thanks Renée for your good comment.
      I agree.

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  14. I am really grateful for this verdict. For me it seems so out of question that such a letter is private that all these juridical and PR stunts to prove otherwise seem so out of the world.
    But I checked various press sources and it is so obvious how dependent on royal content feed these systems are that they get so aggressive when asked to acknowledge basic human rights.
    Any prominent or wealthy person has dignity and privacy rights. To question this at all shows how sick these systems are. They got so much money out of Harry and Meghan. I am sorry for the people consuming it and needing it as distraction and release from the pressures of their life.
    They are not aware how much they are misused and how manipulated. This is sad because at least some people believe that this sort of press is advocacy for the less gifted and wealthy. They are exactly the opposite.
    For journalists throughout the board it seems difficult to reflect on their systems. There is al lot powerplay and scare of biting the hand that’s feeding you.
    In the guardian a columnist very cautiously wrote “we all have a stake in this” as if to defend that verdict… I hope Meghan and Harry never get tired of building new communication principles…..

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    1. If you read what the judge says Meghan has only won because too much of her letter was published. The judges recognized it was of public interest but thought sharing it fully was a breach of her privacy.

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  15. Not my business, but it would be lovely to have a Christmas card from the four, well six, of them! I would gladly settle for just the back of Lili's head. :) I don't envy them in the choices they will have to make regarding school and privacy, though.

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    1. Me too .You are funny Allisson.

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  16. Such a pretty holiday header!! Sweet and magical.

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  17. My nonlegal opinion is that Meghan was indeed stuck with having to communicate in some way with a person who inflicted emotional trauma on her (regardless of the nonrelevant fact that he won some money and paid for her private education!). She would have had every expectation that her father would not treat her letter confidentially, but she had every right to expect for it not to be printed. She may have had little hope of it not being printed but she still had a right to have it not printed. The lovely "father" had a right to say that he received a letter and to paraphrase its contents, but Meghan's personal life is not of importance to the world. It does not affect our lives other than to satisfy our nosiness, so the right to public knowledge is trumped by her right to privacy. This was not a state secret! :)

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  18. I am quite worried that they will now have to cope with all the adverse publicity about the Duke of York and its flow on effects to the rest of the family. There will be pressure for them to speak out which will be difficult for them as they are so close to Eugenie.

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