Meghan Markle responded to the defamation lawsuit filed against her by her sister, Samantha Markle, calling the suit a “defamation case without any merit” on Friday, according to court documents Insider was able to review. Samantha Markle filed the lawsuit against Meghan Markle in a Florida federal court on March 3.
She filed the lawsuit as a result of comments Meghan made in her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 and statements made about her in the book “Finding Freedom” by royal commentators Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie. Samantha is accusing Meghan of lying to the press and falsely spinning a “rags to royalty” narrative, Insider previously reported.
Meghan’s attorneys filed a response on her behalf on Friday, with the court documents saying Samantha’s claims are “demonstrably false and the evidence would easily confirm that.” A representative for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on this story. Insider was unable to reach Samantha Markle.
Samantha, who previously went by Samantha Grant, and the Duchess of Sussex are related through their father. Samantha has been a vocal critic of the duchess since she became connected to the royal family, and she published a tell-all book in February 2021 titled “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister Part 1.”
Much of Samantha’s lawsuit stems from a 2018 email conversation between Meghan and the then-communications secretary of Kensington Palace, Jason Knauf, about a meeting he was having with Scobie and Durand about “Finding Freedom,” according to the court documents filed by Meghan’s attorneys.
Samantha said in her complaint that there are statements made about her in the email that then ended up in “Finding Freedom,” but Meghan’s representatives assert that the statements either were not in “Finding Freedom,” were not actually in the emails, or were substantially true, so they weren’t defamatory.
Some of the statements Samantha says are defamatory that Meghan’s team contest were not actually in the book include that Samantha did not graduate high school and that she had three children from three different fathers. The court documents also say the statements in the email are protected under Florida’s two-year statute of limitations and that Meghan could not be held responsible for them because she did not write “Finding Freedom.”
“As to the allegedly defamatory statements in the book ‘Finding Freedom,’ all claims based on those statements fail for the simple reason that Meghan did not make the statements,” the documents state. The documents go on to say Meghan’s comments to Winfrey are either “non-actionable opinion or substantially true.”
Meghan’s legal team also said she is entitled to compensation for her legal fees and costs because of Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute, short for strategic lawsuits against public participation, which protects defendants from “great expense, harassment, and interruption of their duties,” as the documents state.
In the interview with Winfrey, Meghan said she did not have a relationship with Samantha and had not seen her in nearly 20 years. “I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows,” she said. “I wished I had siblings. I would’ve loved to have had siblings. That’s why I’m so excited to be pregnant, so that Archie has someone.”
ated into each other’s lives. She was the baby in our household, we never addressed each other as half-sister,” Samantha said during an interview with “Good Morning Britain” in 2018. “We had the same father, she was in our lives. We had two households, there was a bridge. We were united. So I thought, why doesn’t she call me?”
Meghan also pointed out in the interview with Winfrey that Samantha only changed her name back to Markle after Meghan became involved with the royal family.
“She changed her last name back to Markle in — I think she was in her early 50s at that time — only when I started dating Harry,” the duchess told Winfrey. “So I think that says enough.”
Samantha’s lawyer filed a motion to withdraw from the lawsuit in April, citing “irreconcilable differences” and “fundamental disagreements,” according to BuzzFeed’s Ellie Hall.