Meghan Markle just had a huge breakthrough in her lawsuit against Associated Newspapers, the company that publishes both The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday. The U.K. tabloids published a handwritten letter that Markle wrote to her father in 2019, after her wedding into the royal family. According to a report by PEOPLE, a judge has now ruled that Associated Newspapers must pay 90 percent of Markle's legal expenses.
The British judge ordered Associated Newspapers to pay $625,000 worth of Markle's legal costs on Tuesday, as part of a wider ruling that the company must pay 90 percent of her legal expenses. The estimated total of the court battle is $1.88 million for Markle, spelling bad news for the company.
Markle is reportedly suing Associated Newspapers for privacy and copyright infringement, mostly over the re-printing of the letter she sent to Thomas Markle in February of 2019. The letter concerned her marriage to Prince Harry in May of 2018, and Thomas' absence from the wedding.
Last month, Judge Mark Warby ruled that publishing the letter was "manifestly excessive and hence unlawful," adding: "It was, in short, a personal and private letter." The court described Tuesday's $625,000 legal fee as an "interim payment" to Markle as the court battle rages on. When the legal fees are tallied, the paper could owe her more than double that.
Warby said that he selected the number "to reflect what I consider the likely costs reasonably incurred." He acknowledged that it was "rough and ready," but thought that it was as "generous" a payment as Markle could expect right now judging by what is "genuinely recoverable" from Associated Newspapers. Markle's court filings showed that she hoped for $1.04 million as an interim payment.
Still, the case between Markle and the company is not over. She has reportedly requested a formal apology from the company on the front page of the Mail on Sunday and on at the top of Mail Online. She also asked the judge to order Associated Newspapers to surrender or destroy any copies it still has of the letter she sent to her father.
In addition, Warby is still determining the real "copyright owner" of the letter. He ruled that Associated Newspapers infringed on that copyright but still believes that Markle might only be a partial owner of it if anyone helped to write or edit the letter.