Meghan Markle Wins Defamation Lawsuit Filed by Half-Sister Samantha Markle, Case Tossed by Court
A royal victory. Meghan Markle has won the defamation lawsuit filed against her by half-sister Samantha Markle.
According to multiple outlets, the $75,000 case was dismissed in Florida on Thursday, March 30. U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled in favor of the Suits alum, 41, noting that the statements she made during her 2021 CBS interview with Prince Harry were clearly opinions and therefore could not possibly be considered defamatory.
The judge also dismissed Samantha's qualms with the 2020 book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, for which she alleged Meghan "contributed false information." Honeywell ruled that the claims be tossed because the Duchess of Sussex did not write the book herself. (Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand were the authors of Finding Freedom.)
Samantha, 58, sued her half-sibling in March 2022 and claimed that Meghan was not honest about her upbringing during her CBS sit-down one year prior. In the wide-ranging interview, Meghan opened up about her childhood and falling out with dad Thomas Markle.
"I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings," the "Archetypes" podcast host said at the time, addressing the public comments Samantha and Thomas, 78, have made since she married Harry, 38, in May 2018. She also alleged that "the last time I saw [Samantha] must have been at least 18, 19 years ago."
The California native attempted to have the "meritless" lawsuit dismissed in June 2022. Meghan claimed in court docs obtained by Us Weekly that Samantha "deleted numerous specific factual allegations and exhibits from her original complaint" that would "completely undermine" her case.
At the time, Meghan's motion was not granted. The Bench author reportedly filed a request in September 2022 to stop depositions but was denied. Both she and Harry were ordered in February to provide out-of-court testimony in the case, per CNN.
The Archewell cofounders — who share son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 21 months — stepped down from their senior royal duties in early 2020 and moved to the U.S. In the wake of the couple's exit from the palace, Samantha and Thomas have continued to share their unfiltered thoughts about Meghan.
"She's pretty much ghosted all of her family, on her mother's side and my side," the former lighting director told Good Morning Britain in October 2021, referring to ex-wife Doria Ragland. "So, she really had no one to reach out to. She would've had us if she'd kept us. We all make mistakes."
During the six-part docuseries Harry & Meghan, which hit Netflix in December 2022, the prince claimed that he felt responsible for his wife's estranged relationship with her relatives.
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"Of course, it's incredibly sad what happened. She had a father before this," he said in episode 3, reflecting on Thomas' absence from the duo's wedding. "Now she doesn't have a father. I shouldered that. Because if Meg wasn't with me, then her dad would still be her dad."