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Duchess of Sussex: Meghan wins bid to throw out Samantha Markle legal case

Duchess of Sussex: Meghan wins bid to throw out Samantha Markle legal case

The Duchess of Sussex has won her bid to throw out a US defamation case brought by her half-sister.

Samantha Markle was suing Meghan for alleged defamation and "injurious falsehood" - including Meghan saying she was an "only child" in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

She was seeking $75,000 (£62,000) in damages.

But a Florida judge dismissed the case, saying Meghan was expressing an opinion - and opinions cannot be proved false.

In court papers, US District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell wrote: "As a reasonable listener would understand it, defendant merely expresses an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings.

"Thus, the court finds that defendant's statement is not objectively verifiable or subject to empirical proof.... plaintiff cannot plausibly disprove defendant's opinion of her own childhood."

Samantha Markle - who is Meghan's half-sister from father Thomas Markle's first marriage - brought the civil case in March last year.

In it, she alleged Meghan:

* exposed her to "humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale"

* misrepresented their relationship when they were growing up, giving the impression they were "virtual strangers" and she had "no relationship whatsoever with her sister Meghan"

* "falsely and maliciously stated" she was "an only child", when interviewed with Prince Harry by Oprah Winfrey, in 2021

* pursued a "false rags-to-royalty narrative", claiming childhood hardship, which destroyed her half-sister and father's "reputation and credibility"

In the Oprah interview - which was watched by more than 50 million people worldwide - Meghan said she did not really know Samantha, adding: "I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings."

As well as the Oprah TV interview, Samantha Markle - who lives in Florida - alleged the duchess had defamed her by giving information to a 2020 unauthorised biography called Finding Freedom.

But Judge Honeywell also found the duchess could not be liable for the contents of the book because she did not publish it.

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