The Daily Telegraph

Duchess may have to testify in sister’s defamation case

- By Victoria Ward ROYAL EDITOR

THE Duchess of Sussex has lost a legal bid to avoid giving evidence in a defamation claim brought by her half-sister.

A Florida judge denied the Duchess’s applicatio­n to halt the discovery process pending a motion to have the case dismissed. It means that both the Duchess and Prince Harry will be forced to give filmed deposition­s, under oath, if the case moves ahead.

Samantha Markle, elder daughter of Thomas Markle, the Duchess’s father, is seeking $75,000 (£57,000) in damages over claims made by the Sussexes in their March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey and in Finding Freedom, the 2020 biography, which she has alleged subjected her to “humiliatio­n, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale”.

She has accused Meghan of telling “false and malicious lies” about her “rags to royalty” upbringing at her family’s expense and has contested her halfsister’s claim that she “grew up as an only child”.

Miss Markle has formally requested that both the Duke and the Duchess give deposition­s. She has also asked the Duchess to make 38 separate admissions, ranging from the acknowledg­ment that Miss Markle regularly drove her to school and took her on shopping trips to a declaratio­n that neither the late Queen nor the King were racist.

The Duchess’s legal team has so far declined to provide any evidence, branding the requests from Miss Markle “irrelevant”, “vague” and “speculativ­e”.

Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled that the Duchess had not met the “high standard” required to stay discovery but agreed to push back the deadline for submitting deposition­s to July.

However, she did suggest that her attempt to have the case thrown out might have some merit.

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