Meghan Markle Scores Legal Victory in Sister Samantha's Defamation Case

Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha Markle has lost her defamation case against the Duchess of Sussex.

On March 30, a Florida judge granted Meghan's motion to dismiss the lawsuit's claims without prejudice, according to court documents obtained by E! News.

Samantha, 58, alleged in her 2022 filing that several defamatory comments about her were published in Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie's 2020 book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family. The unauthorized biography about Meghan and husband Prince Harry contains a chapter titled "A Problem Like Samantha."

Samantha also accused the duchess of making more defamatory statements about her in the couple's 2021 CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey. She noted in her lawsuit how Meghan, 41, told the TV personality, "I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings."

In her filing, Samantha—who shares father Thomas Markle with Meghan—stated that the alleged "defamatory statements" caused her irreparable prejudice, injury, and harm to her reputation, as well as anxiety and emotional distress. She also said she received hate mail, ongoing negative press, and was stalked by one of Meghan's fans.

All the Major Bombshells From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Docuseries

In his ruling dismissing all allegations, the judge stated that Samantha's "claims based on Finding Freedom will be dismissed with prejudice, as [she] cannot plausibly allege that [Meghan] published the book, and amendment of these claims would be futile."

Meghan Markle, Samantha Markle; Getty Images

With regard to Meghan's "only child" comments in the Oprah interview, the judge ruled, "As a reasonable listener would understand it, [Meghan] merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings. Thus, the Court finds that [her] statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof."

In his ruling, the judge also found that two other alleged defamatory statements Samantha claimed Meghan made to Oprah were not actually found in the interview transcript. The duchess' sister, he noted, "does more than paraphrase [Meghan's] words—she substantively changes the meaning of what was said."

Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

Meanwhile, Samantha can file an amended complaint regarding claims related to the Oprah interview within 14 days, the judge ruled, and she plans to do so.

"This upcoming amendment will address certain legal issues that are related to our claims for defamation as it specifically relates to the Oprah interview on CBS," her attorney, Jamie A. Sasson, told E! News in a statement March 31, adding that they "look forward to presenting an even stronger argument for the defamation and losses that our client has had to endure."

Samantha's lawsuit comes after several years of criticizing Meghan and Harry publicly. This includes comparing the duchess to the Disney villain Cruella de Vil on Twitter just a few months after Harry and Meghan's 2018 wedding—which Samantha was not invited to—and publishing a memoir in 2021 that refers to Meghan as "Princess Pushy."

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App