Meghan Markle has won the defamation lawsuit her estranged sister Samantha Markle filed against her in 2021.
On Thursday, a judge threw out Samantha’s case, saying that Meghan wasn’t guilty because every statement she made that Samantha took issue with was an obvious opinion and therefore didn’t meet the criteria for defamation.
One part of the lawsuit concerned the 2020 book “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family,” written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. The book was clearly released as an unauthorized biography, but Samantha claimed Meghan “contributed false information to the book through her agent and press secretary,” according to court documents.
The judge dismissed this claim with prejudice because Meghan did not write the book.
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The other instance in which Samantha claims Meghan defamed her took place in the duchess’ 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In that interview, Meghan was asked about Samantha’s tell-all, “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.” She said that it would be “very hard to tell all when you don’t know me,” and claimed that she “grew up as an only child.”
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She went on to say that she wasn’t close with her half-sister and barely saw her over the past few decades, and that “She changed her last name back to Markle, and I think she’s an early fifties at that time only when I started dating Harry. And so I think that says enough.”
Samantha claimed that Meghan’s portrayal of her in that interview caused her fan base to turn against her, and she was “seen as an opportunist trying to cash in on her sister’s success and fame.”
These statements “caused irreparable prejudice, injury and harm to [Samantha’s] reputation, as well as anxiety and emotional distress,” the court documents read. “She has received hate mail, ongoing negative press, and was stalked by one of [Meghan’s] fans.”
She also said that she’d been unable to do her job as a mental health counselor because Meghan had done too much damage to her reputation.
In the judge’s ruling, it was said that Meghan’s statements in the interview couldn’t be classified as defamatory because “Here, a reasonable listener would not think that [Meghan] was suggesting that she has no half-siblings, that [Samantha] does not actually exist, or that [Samantha] is not related to her ….
“As a reasonable listener would understand it, [Meghan] merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings.”
Samantha’s claims regarding the Winfrey interview were dismissed without prejudice, and the judge wrote that “she will be allowed one final opportunity to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”