Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Suffer Major Legal Setback
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got some disappointing news this week: They're going to have to testify in a lawsuit Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha Markle is posing against them. The defamation lawsuit has to do with comments Meghan Markle made in her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. Although Markle in September filed a motion to stop depositions, Florida judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell on Tuesday dismissed the request, ruling, per CNN, that Markle and Prince Harry will be deposed as part of the case.
In the original filing submitted in March 2022, Samantha, who has long had a tumultuous relationship with Markle, sued the Suits actress for "defamation based on demonstrably false and malicious statements made by her half-sister to a worldwide audience," including the "roughly 50 million people in 17 countries" who watched the high-profile interview, according to Entertainment Tonight and CNN. In the 2021 interview, Markle addressed her headline-making relationship with Samantha, telling Winfrey that she has not seen her half-sister "for over a decade – and that was only for a day and a half." She went on to state, "I don't know your middle name. I don't know your birthday. You're telling these people that you raised me, and you've coined me 'Princess Pushy.'"
Samantha has also accused her sister of having "published and disseminated false and malicious statements" about her in the 2020 book, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family. The lawsuit also states that the Duchess of Sussex's comments about her were "lies designed to destroy [Samantha's] reputation and which have subjected [her] to humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale."
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Markle "orchestrated the campaign to defame and destroy her sister's and her Father's reputation and credibility in order to preserve and promote the false 'rags-to-royalty' narrative Defendant had fabricated about her life to the Royal Family and the worldwide media." In the lawsuit filing, Samantha also denied Markle's claims that they did not spend much time together growing up. According to court documents filed Friday and obtained by Entertainment Tonight, Samantha is seeking $75,000 in damages and is requesting a trial by jury.
Although Markle attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed and attempted to avoid a deposition, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday that she does not show that unusual circumstances justify the requested stay, or that prejudice or an undue burden will result if the Court does not impose a stay. Defendant Markle does not satisfy the high standard required to stay discovery pending the resolution of a dispositive motion." Further information regarding the potential deposition is unavailable at this time, and Markle has not released a statement addressing the lawsuit.