Meghan Markle wins the defamation lawsuit brought by her sister: Samantha will not be able to sue her again

Thomas Markle’s eldest daughter was seeking $75,000 in damages for the “malicious, hurtful, and damaging lies” she claimed the Duchess of Sussex had told. A Florida judge has dismissed her lawsuit again

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at the Invictus Awards in Düsseldorf, Germany, in September 2023.Joshua Sammer (Getty Images)
María Porcel

The Princess of Wales Kate Middleton, Prince William’s wife, is not the only one making headlines these days. Her sister-in-law Meghan Markle, Harry’s wife, is also in the news, although this time for a judicial matter: the Duchess of Sussex’s legal battle with her sister, Samantha Markle, is over. A Florida judge has put a seemingly definitive end to a family quarrel that became a court case.

Samantha Markle, 59, the daughter of Meghan’s father and his first wife, sued the Duchess, 42, last November in court in Tampa, Florida (Samantha lives in Lakeland, Florida). She argued that her younger sister had made statements that had ruined her life and reputation; Samantha even claimed that she had received death threats. She asked for $75,000 (about €69,000) in damages for what she called “malicious, hurtful, and damaging lies” that had harmed her and damaged her image within her community.

According to Samantha Markle, her sister had spoken ill of her in the couple’s famous interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, as well as in the documentary that Netflix released 15 months ago about the story of Meghan and Harry’s marriage and their departure from the British royal family. Samantha claimed that the Duchess also defamed her in the biography Finding Freedom, published in August 2020, and asserted that Markle “orchestrated the campaign to defame and destroy her and her father’s reputation and credibility in order to preserve and promote the false ‘rags-to-royalty’ narrative [Meghan] had fabricated about her life to the Royal Family and the worldwide media.” According to the older sister, the younger sister made comments that “demonize” her image and portray her as a “liar and fame seeker”; as a result, Samantha alleged, some of Meghan’s followers launched “a hate campaign” against her.

British and American media such as The Mirror (U.K.) and Page Six (U.S.), which accessed the legal documents on Tuesday, March 12, explain that the district court judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell stated that Samantha “failed to identify any statements that could support a claim for defamation or defamation-by-implication.” Honeywell notes that there are no examples of defamation from the interview, the series or the book, and observes that everything Meghan said were “quintessential examples of opinion.” In addition, the judge dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice,” meaning that Samantha Markle cannot sue her younger sister again in this matter.

Samantha’s vilification of her sister goes back a long way. It began with her book The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, released in February 2021, and then went to court. In March 2022, the same Judge Honeywell closed a lawsuit that Samantha had filed against Meghan. The judge found that in the interview with Winfrey (in which the Duchess said the two were “virtually strangers” since childhood, because they had not grown up together), Meghan had expressed “an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-sibling,” adding that a feeling about her childhood could not be shown to be untrue. Regarding the book Finding Freedom, the judge observed that since it was not a biography written directly by the Duchess, it could not be proven that Meghan played a role in its content.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex live in California and are far away, physically, mentally and sentimentally, from their respective families. In Markle’s case, it is common to see her with her mother, Doria Ragland, who lives in Los Angeles, just a two-hour drive from the couple’s Montecito residence in Santa Barbara. Markle’s father, Thomas, lives in Rosarito, Mexico, near the U.S. border, but has little to do with his daughter. Samantha lives in Florida, and Meghan’s older brother, Thomas Jr., has no relationship with her either. Harry is also estranged from his family, which has its own problems. King Charles III has cancer, and his youngest son flew from California to London to visit him in early February, when the news broke. His sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales, is also in a delicate situation: a few months ago, she underwent abdominal surgery and has not been heard from since; there have been endless rumors and comments about what is wrong with her and how she is really doing, since she has not been seen in public and the only photograph she has released in recent weeks was edited.

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