The Duchess of Sussex Image copyright Getty Images

The Mail on Sunday has won the first round of a legal battle against the Duchess of Sussex over the publication of a letter she wrote to her father.

The duchess is suing for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement after articles reproduced parts of a letter she sent Thomas Markle.

The publisher Associated Newspapers denies the allegations.

It argues the Duchess of Sussex had no reasonable expectation of privacy and anticipated publication of the letter.

On Friday, Associated Newspapers – the publishers of the Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail and MailOnline – won its attempt to have parts of Meghan’s breach of privacy claim struck out.

The judge Mr Justice Warby struck out parts of Meghan’s claim, including allegations the publisher acted “dishonestly” by leaving out certain passages of the letter.

He also dismissed her allegations that the publisher deliberately “stirred up” issues between Meghan and her father, and that it had an “agenda” of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about her.

Mr Justice Warby said the allegations he struck out do not go to the “heart of the case, which at its core concerns the publication of five articles disclosing the words of, and information drawn from, the letter written by the claimant to her father in August 2018”.

He said some of the allegations were struck out as “irrelevant”, while others were because they were “inadequately detailed”.

But Mr Justice Warby said those parts of the duchess’s case may be brought back at a later stage if they are put on a proper legal basis.

‘Case will continue’

Lawyers for Schillings, the firm representing Meghan, said the ruling did not change “the core elements of this case”.

“The duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed,” a spokesperson said.

They said they respect the judge’s decision and “the strong case against Associated will continue to focus on the issue of a private, intimate and handwritten letter from a daughter to her father that was published by the Mail on Sunday”.

“This gross violation of any person’s right to privacy is obvious and unlawful, and the Mail on Sunday should be held to account for their actions.”

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