Meghan Markle wins bid to delay court battle with newspaper

LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan, the wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, won her bid to have a privacy action against a tabloid newspaper postponed by about nine months until next Autumn after a judge heard a confidential reason from her lawyers for seeking a delay.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is suing Associated Newspapers over articles in the Mail on Sunday that included parts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.

A trial was due to have started in London in January.

26 PHOTOSMeghan Markle and Prince Harry return to workSee GalleryMeghan Markle and Prince Harry return to workLONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.(Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.(Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.(Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)The Duchess of Sussex arriving for the visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)The Duchess of Sussex arriving for her visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex reacts as they leave after her visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London on January 7, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as they are show a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, in London on January 7, 2020, to give thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gesture during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS- WPA Pool/Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smile during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS- WPA Pool/Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gestures during her visit with Prince Harry to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS- WPA Pool/Getty Images)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020. Duke and Duchess of Sussex met Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thanked them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada.(Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada’s High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Canada House to meet with HE. Ms. Janice Charette, High Commissioner in Canada to the UK as well as staff to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada at Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Canada House to meet with HE. Ms. Janice Charette, High Commissioner in Canada to the UK as well as staff to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada at Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)Up Next

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Judge Mark Warby said on Thursday he had granted the delay after Meghan’s team gave “a confidential ground” for doing so.

“My conclusion is that the right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application,” he said. “That means that the trial date of January 11, 2021 will be vacated and the trial will be refixed for a new date in the autumn.”

Last month, the Mail successfully applied for permission to amend its defence of the case, arguing that the couple had cooperated with a biography about them, “Finding Freedom”, which was published in August.

Lawyers for Meghan say the publication of the letter to her father was a misuse of private information and breached her copyright. They are seeking aggravated damages from the paper.

As part of the claim, they argue the Mail had deliberately omitted parts of the letter, which was never intended to be made public, to paint the royals in a poor light.

Meghan and Harry are now living in Los Angeles with their baby son Archie, having stepped down from their royal roles at the end of March.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Kate Holton and Stephen Addison) 

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