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Meghan Markle’s Family Will Not Leave Her Alone

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images, Shutterstock

Ever since her engagement to Prince Harry launched her into the public eye, Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle Sr., and his family have insisted on inserting themselves into the narrative. Thomas, who’s long been described as “estranged” from his daughter, has repeatedly bad-mouthed Meghan to the press while concocting drama out of thin air. Meanwhile, his other children, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jr., have used interviews, open letters, and social media to further insult Meghan and paint themselves as victims of her narcissism. Samantha even took her grievance to court. In March, as reported by TMZ, she sued Meghan for defamation, claiming a number of things she said in her now infamous Oprah interview are false. The suit also included 14 other statements that Samantha deemed defamatory, including from a leaked email to her then-communications secretary Jason Knauf and from Finding Freedom, a book Meghan did not write.

Previously, Samantha has accused her half-sister of social climbing and complained about not getting invited to the royal wedding. Last year, she further capitalized on her proximity to Meghan by publishing a memoir titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister — which may have something to do with her lawsuit.

In the suit, Samantha contests that Meghan called herself an “only child” in the Oprah interview — Meghan is 17 years younger than her siblings and was raised in a different household — and denied Meghan’s claim that Samantha only changed her last name to Markle once Meghan started dating Harry. Samantha also claims that Meghan did not grow up with the financial strain she’s discussed publicly. In an open letter to Congress about parental leave, Meghan said that she started working at 13 to help her family “make ends meet.” Samantha claims Thomas paid for Meghan to attend “elite and expensive private schools” and “dance and acting classes.” The suit also reiterates Thomas’s claim that he covered Megan’s tuition and expenses as a college student at Northwestern, which Meghan said both in the Oprah interview and on the Ellen Show that she worked to pay herself.

If that all seems rather petty, that could be because Samantha’s real concern is her book sales, which her lawsuit claims were damaged as a result of Meghan’s “lies.” Per her account, Meghan’s discussion of her family in the press has also prevented Samantha from getting jobs and caused her emotional and mental distress. The suit does not seem to mention the fact that Markle has endured an astounding amount of harassment and racism stoked by the press and social-media trolls and compounded by attacks from her own family. In her Oprah interview, Meghan called her father’s relentless press appearances a “betrayal.” When asked about her sister’s book, she said that it would be “very hard to tell all when you don’t know me.”

Meghan’s attorney Michael Kump initially responded to the lawsuit, telling TMZ, “This baseless and absurd lawsuit is just a continuation of a pattern of disturbing behavior. We will give it the minimum attention necessary, which is all it deserves.” And in the months since, Meghan has tried to get the case dismissed. An initial motion for dismissal filed earlier this year was reportedly denied in June. In July, Samantha filed an amendment to her complaint, and now Meghan is once again asking a judge to dismiss the suit.

In a new document filed on Monday, Meghan’s team responded to Samantha’s many claims, including her classification of Meghan’s statement that she grew up “an only child” as defamation. “It is hard to imagine a more personal and subjective feeling than how one views their own childhood,” read a statement written on behalf of Meghan. “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.”

Meghan also responded to Samantha’s claim that she defamed her estranged sister in Finding Freedom, despite not having written the book. (She reportedly gave aides and friends permission to speak to the book’s authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durance.) “Meghan did not make the statements; she cannot be liable for them. It is that simple,” read the new document, per the Daily Beast. As Meghan’s attorneys pointed out in a previous motion to dismiss, the email to Knauf, in which Meghan briefed him on how to speak to Scobie and Durance regarding Finding Freedom, was sent in 2018, which is outside Florida’s two-year statute of limitations.

If the case is not dismissed, it’s possible that it will go in front of a jury.

Meghan Markle’s Family Will Not Leave Her Alone