A Florida judge has ruled in favor of Meghan Markle after her half-sister, Samantha Markle, filed a defamation lawsuit against her in March 2022. The lawsuit was a direct response to several comments made by Meghan in the past about her strained relationship with her father, Thomas, and half-sister.
Her half-sister primarily pointed to comments made in a 2020 book titled Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family (which wasn’t written by Meghan, but she contributed to it) and a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, which featured both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
In the book, Samantha listed seven statements, in particular, that were false – including that Meghan and Samantha only crossed paths twice in their childhood, they only had one picture together, they didn’t grow up together, they were never close, that Samantha wasn’t invited to Meghan’s wedding, and much more.
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As for the CBS interview, Samantha primarily alludes to a statement by Meghan that alleged she grew up an only child and that she was never really close with Samantha. As a result of these statements, Samantha claims she was subjected to humiliation and hatred from fans and those in her community.
“The defamatory statements caused irreparable prejudice, injury, and harm to [Samantha’s] reputation, as well as anxiety and emotional distress,” the court document read. “She has received hate mail, ongoing negative press, and was stalked by one of [Meghan’s] fans,” – adding Samantha was unable to work.
Samantha’s lawyer, Peter Ticktin, further added that the only reason Meghan made those statements was to cover up a lie she previously stated about her upbringing – choosing to bring her half-sister and father down as a result. Ticktin said there was no other reason since her family never did wrong by Meghan.
Meanwhile, Meghan’s lawyer, Michael Kump, argued that Samantha had no grounds for the defamation suit and that not every ‘slight’ should be litigated in court – this being one of those instances. “[Samantha] is taking issue with Meghan’s own impressions of her own childhood growing up,” he said in February.
Florida Court Rules in Favor of Meghan Markle
The Florida judge who was assigned to the lawsuit ended up ruling in Meghan’s favor and came to the conclusion that her statements were more of an opinion that couldn’t be proved in court. As a result, Meghan wasn’t ordered to pay the mere $75,000 in damages that Samantha was originally seeking.
“As a reasonable listener would understand it, [Meghan] merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings,” the judge, Charlene Edwards Honeywell, said in the order. “The Court finds that [Meghan’s] statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof.”
“[Samantha] cannot plausibly disprove [Meghan’s] opinion of her own childhood—that she “grew up as an only child” and wished she had siblings. Because the statement is not ‘capable of being proved false, it is protected from a defamation action.’ Thus, the court is justified in dismissing the claim,” the judge added.
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While this is a small win for Meghan Markle, she and her husband continue a much larger battle with the Royal Family – which has been ongoing since Meghan and Harry stepped back as senior members of the Royal Family in January 2020. It’s still unclear if the couple will attend King Charles’ coronation in May.
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