Prince Harry and Meghan to be questioned in defamation case

Prince Harry and Meghan to be questioned in defamation case

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are to be questioned as part of a US defamation case brought by her half-sister over “false and malicious” statements.

Samantha Markle is suing Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, for “defamation and injurious falsehood” following the couple’s high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

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

The duchess previously filed a motion to stop depositions in the case from taking place, but this was dismissed by Florida judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell on Tuesday.

A deposition is a formal statement of evidence in the US that typically happens out of court and is taken by an authorised officer of the court.

“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,” said the documents, obtained by the PA news agency.

“Defendant Markle does not satisfy the high standard required to stay discovery pending the resolution of a dispositive motion.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex through the years – in pictures

In their joint interview with US talk show host Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan spoke about their families and made a series of allegations about the British royal family.

Samantha Markle’s original complaint stated that the comments made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the interview reached “roughly 50 million people in 17 countries”.

In the filing, she alleged she was defamed by Meghan, when she “falsely and maliciously” said she was “an only child”.

“Plaintiff – who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair – brings this action for defamation based on demonstrably false and malicious statements made by her half-sister to a worldwide audience, including roughly 50 million people in 17 countries who watched the Oprah Winfrey interview with the defendant, Meghan Markle, and her husband, Prince Harry of England,” the filing said.

The filing also said Meghan used “the powerful resources of the royal family’s public relations operation” to disseminate and spread “lies worldwide” about Samantha Markle and their father, Thomas Markle.

“Defendant orchestrated the campaign to defame and destroy her sister’s and her father’s reputation and credibility in order to preserve and promote the false ‘rags-to-royalty’ narrative,” the filing said.

“[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.”

The planned depositions follow the couple’s Netflix series and the publication of Prince Harry’s memoir last month.

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