Harry and Meghan forced to give evidence in US court case after half-sister brings defamation suit against royals

8 February 2023, 11:40 | Updated: 8 February 2023, 14:11

Samantha Markle's defamation case will see both Meghan and Harry appear in a US court to give evidence,
Samantha Markle's defamation case will see both Meghan and Harry appear in a US court to give evidence,. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have lost their legal battle to avoid appearing in court as part of a US defamation case brought by Meghan’s half-sister.

Harry and Meghan had filed a motion to block the in-person testimonies, however, it was denied by a Florida judge on Tuesday, meaning the couple will be questioned in court.

Samantha Markle, Meghan's half-sibling, is suing the duchess for “defamation and injurious falsehood” following the couple’s tell-all US interview with Oprah Winfrey, which drew a worldwide audience when it aired in 2021.

The interview, conducted by the close friend of Meghan Markle's, saw over 12 million viewers in the UK tune in when it first aired on ITV in March.

Markle's older sister is now seeking $75,000 (£57,000) in damages over claims made by the Sussexes’ as part of the Oprah interview.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Samantha Markle is suing the duchess for “defamation and injurious falsehood” . Picture: LBC / Alamy

Samantha alleges she was subjected to “humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale” following claims made in the interview, including that she was “falsely and maliciously” accused of being "an only child”.

Samantha is the eldest daughter of Thomas Markle, who hit headlines himself after a series of controversial TV interviews.

The filing, initially submitted in March last year, sees Samantha Markle claim “demonstrably false and malicious statements” were made by Meghan to a “worldwide audience”.

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Dismissed by Florida judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell, initial documents obtained by the PA News Agency describe how the Markle"orchestrated the campaign to defame and destroy her sister’s and her father’s reputation and credibility" in a bid to "preserve and promote the false ‘rags-to-royalty’ narrative”.

The filing, initially submitted in March last year, sees Samantha Markle claim “demonstrably false and malicious statements” were made by Meghan to a “worldwide audience”.
The filing, initially submitted in March last year, sees Samantha Markle claim “demonstrably false and malicious statements” were made by Meghan to a “worldwide audience”. Picture: LBC / Alamy

According to court documents: “Defendant Markle 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.

"(It was) a premeditated campaign to destroy their reputation and credibility so they could not interfere with or contradict the false narrative and fairy tale life story concocted by the Defendant.”

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