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Duchess of Sussex to receive just £1 from Mail on Sunday for privacy invasion

The Mail on Sunday’s owner, Associated Newspapers, will pay the Duchess of Sussex a nominal £1 in damages for invading her privacy in documents and confirmed it will not take the case to the Supreme Court - which it had previously threatened to do.

Duchess of Sussex to receive just £1 from Mail on Sunday for privacy invasion
Photograph: Steve Smith on Unsplash.

The publisher will also pay an unspecified sum for infringing the Duchess' copyright by publishing sections of a private letter she had written to her father and faces paying a substantial part of the Duchess’ legal costs.

The court settlement also ordered the publisher to avoid disclosing the names of five of the Duchess’ friends who spoke to People magazine for a 2018 article about her. Associated Newspapers had previously tried to name them during the legal proceedings.

The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online were also ordered to publish front page and homepage declarations that they had lost their case, with the court even ruling which font was to be used for the statements. The statements were published on Boxing Day.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens said the privacy settlement pointed to a weakness in Meghan’s case: “Normally for that kind of invasion of privacy you would expect £75,000 to £125,000. It does show that the curation of her reputation was an area where she had effectively invaded her own privacy.”

The Appeal Court ruled in early December that the duchess had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy regarding the contents of the letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle.

“Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest,” said appeal judge Sir Geoffrey Vos.

The duchess celebrated the victory calling for a change in tabloid culture, speaking of how she had suffered from “deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks.” She criticised a “tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.”

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