A royal rumble? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be deposed in a defamation case brought forward by Samantha Markle, the duchess’ estranged half-sister.
According to CNN, a judge in Florida made the ruling on Tuesday, February 7. Samantha, 58, is suing the Suits alum, 41, for “defamation and injurious falsehood” in response to the royal couple’s March 2021 CBS tell-all interview. She alleges in her suit that Meghan made “demonstrably false and malicious statements” in the bombshell interview that aired “to a worldwide audience” of “roughly 50 million people in 17 countries.”
Samantha also points to the 2020 book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family as another instance in which the Duchess of Sussex “published and disseminated false and malicious statements” about her family and upbringing.
The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister author initially sued Meghan in March 2022, claiming that the California native was not honest about her past or their father, Thomas Markle, in her CBS sit-down. Meghan attempted to have the “meritless” lawsuit dismissed three months later.
In court documents obtained by Us Weekly in June 2022, Meghan alleged that Samantha “deleted numerous specific factual allegations and exhibits from her original complaint,” arguing that the omitted details would “completely undermine” Samantha’s case. “Indeed, in her desperation to save her case, Plaintiff quite literally fabricated one of the statements, as evidenced by the missing interview transcript,” the motion continued.
The Archewell cofounder’s request was dismissed at the time. CNN reports that Meghan filed a motion in September 2022 to stop depositions — or out-of-court testimonies used to gather evidence — in the case but was denied once again.
“Defendant Markle does not satisfy the high standard required to stay discovery pending the resolution of a dispositive motion,” presiding judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell decided, per the outlet.
Tensions have been high between Meghan and her relatives since before her May 2018 wedding to Harry, 38. Samantha and Thomas, 78, have frequently spoken out about the Sussexes in the wake of their 2020 step down from their senior royal roles. However, Meghan claimed to CBS that she hardly had a relationship with Samantha when they were younger.
“I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings. I would have loved to have had siblings,” she said in March 2021. “[She] changed her last name back to Markle in her early 50s … only when I started dating Harry. So, I think that says enough.”
Despite the ups and downs she’s faced with her family over the years, Meghan has leaned on her mother, Doria Ragland, for support. The yoga instructor, 66, addressed her daughter’s struggles in the public eye in Netflix’s docuseries Harry & Meghan, which aired in December 2022. The six-part series also featured the Tig blogger’s niece Ashleigh Hale — Samantha’s biological daughter.
Due to the drama surrounding her extended family, Meghan recalled being encouraged not to invite Ashleigh to her and Harry’s wedding. The snub put a strain on her relationship with Ashleigh, but the duo reconnected in 2021.
“When you’ve lost a huge piece of yourself, getting that back includes getting back those relationships and those friendships and things that anchor you to who you are,” the retired actress said in episode 6. “I texted her and she was immediately just happy to be reconnected. … Part of what’s beautiful here is the freedom to have family moments out in the world.”