The Duchess of Sussex’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, is suing her for defamation following the airing of her interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 and the publication of the biography Finding Freedom by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie. Samantha is seeking $75,000 (£57,000) in damages from the duchess, claiming that the image Meghan has painted of their relationship has subjected her to ‘humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale’.
Now, according to Newsweek, Meghan’s lawyers are attempting to ‘block moves’ by her half-sister to depose (which would mean they have to testify under oath) their father Thomas Markle, Prince Harry and Oprah in the lawsuit.
Meghan’s legal team have reacted to the request by asking the judge to halt the process of collecting and releasing evidence, until after a ruling on whether the lawsuit should be processed. Their filing read: “A deposition of Mr. Markle at this juncture, along with other discovery, would be an unnecessary spectacle and waste of the parties’ time, money, and resources.”
It went on to read: “[Samantha Markle] should not be permitted to force Meghan and, potentially, numerous non parties to devote substantial resources to extraneous discovery while a meritorious motion that could dispose of the entire case is pending.”
Samantha is asserting that several of Meghan’s childhood recollections discussed during the famous interview were fabricated, in particular, the fact that she had said she “grew up as an only child”. The duchess’s legal team have argued against the claim, suggesting Meghan’s statement about her childhood cannot be false considering it is a “textbook example of a subjective statement about how a person feels about her childhood.”
The documents read: “Plaintiff [Samantha] first asserts that she can disprove that Meghan “grew up as an only child”. But this perception is inherently unfalsifiable. It is hard to imagine a more personal and subjective feeling than how one views their own childhood.”
“Moreover, Plaintiff’s opposition completely ignores the context of the statement, where Ms Winfrey asked Meghan about her “relationship” with Plaintiff (to whom Ms Winfrey referred as her “half-sister on her father’s side”).
“Meghan’s response to that question that she “grew up as an only child” was obviously not meant to be a statement of objective fact that she had no genetic siblings or half-siblings. Rather, it was a textbook example of a subjective statement about how a person feels about her childhood.”
The duchess’s team went on to propose that Meghan cannot be sued over what was suggested in Finding Freedom considering she did not write the book. “Meghan did not make the statements; she cannot be liable for them. It is that simple.”
Samantha and her brother, Thomas Markle Jr., are the children from Thomas’s first marriage to Roslyn Loveless, which ended in 1973. Six years later, Thomas would go on to wed the Duchess of Sussex’s mother, Doria Ragland, who gave birth to Meghan two years later. The couple divorced in 1987.
Meghan’s relationship with her father’s side of the family is famously tumultuous. Tensions between Meghan and her father came to a head days before the duke and duchess’s wedding in 2018, after footage depicting him staging paparazzi photographs made headlines. Thomas, who was originally asked by Meghan to walk her down the aisle, claimed to have suffered a heart attack following the incident and was unable to make the ceremony. The series of events led to bitterness between the pair with Thomas eventually alleging that his daughter had ‘rejected him’.
The Duchess of Sussex has long praised the role her mother has played in her life, once stating that Doria had “remained in silent dignity for four years watching me go through this,” presumably referring to attacks from the media and her estranged family.
Originally published in Tatler.com