Meghan Markle wins defamation lawsuit against half-sister Samantha

Duchess of Sussex had been accused of ‘falsely’ claiming that she was ‘an only child’

Meghan Markle has emerged victorious in a defamation lawsuit filed against her by her half-sister Samantha Markle.

The Duchess of Sussex, 41, had been accused of making “demonstrably false and malicious statements” in her bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview in March 2021.

Samantha Markle had alleged that the Duchess defamed her when she “falsely and maliciously” claimed that she was “an only child”.

She also claimed that the Duchess had given “false information” to an unauthorised biography called Finding Freedom.

But a Florida judge dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday, saying that the duchess had expressed “an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-sibling”.

This statement of opinion was “not capable of being proved false”, the judge said.

In a court order, US District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell wrote: “As a reasonable listener would understand it, the defendant merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings.

“Thus, the court finds that the defendant's statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof.... plaintiff cannot plausibly disprove the defendant's opinion of her own childhood.”

Judge Honeywell also found the Duchess could not be liable for the contents of the book because she did not publish it.

The news comes as Ms Markle’s husband Prince Harry pursues legal action against the Daily Mail’s publisher, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), over allegations of unlawful information gathering at its titles.

Harry is among several celebrity claimants who allege that private investigators were hired by the Mail’s journalists to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes and to record private phone conversations. ANL strongly deny the allegations.

On the final day of a preliminary hearing in London on Thursday, David Sherborne, representing Harry and others, said ANL’s challenge to their legal action was “ambitious as it is unattractive”.

He accused the publisher of seeking an “impermissible mini-trial or worse” before further documentation and evidence was secured in the cases.

ANL says a judge should rule in its favour without a trial because the legal challenges against it are brought “far too late”.