Prince Harry has been asked to give evidence in the defamation case brought against his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex by her half-sister.
Samantha Markle is suing the former ‘Suits’ actress for $75,000 in damages over the “malicious lies” she alleged were told about her during an interview Meghan gave to Oprah Winfrey after stepping down from royal duties in 2020 and moving to Los Angeles with her husband and on Friday (03.02.23), she submitted legal documents formally asking for the couple to sit for separate recorded depositions.
According to documents obtained by the Sunday Mirror newspaper, Samantha – who alleged she has been subjected to “humiliation and hatred” as a result of the claims – wants the duchess to admit she “lied” when she claimed to Oprah that she and her half-sister had “little to no relationship” for the sake of selling a “rags-to-royalty story.”
As part of the case, Samantha is also demanding that Meghan retract her suggestion that the late Queen Elizabeth was “racist” when she claimed to the veteran TV host that there had been “concerns” raised by unnamed members of the royal family when she was pregnant with her son Archie, now three.
Legal papers filed in Florida also show the 58-year-old author wants her estranged sibling to answer 23 questions as part of the discovery period – the provision of evidence intended to be used in a trial – and also seeks a statement from their father Thomas Markle.
The pair’s lawyers working on the case – which is slated to potentially head towards a jury trial in January 2024 – are said to have been in contact over the phone but could not agree on a date for the depositions.
Samantha’s lawyer Taylor E. Young has accused Meghan – who is said to be hoping for the case to be dismissed altogether – of “withholding evidence and stonewalling discovery.”
However, the Duchess’s California-based legal team has so far declined to provide any information, branding the various requests “irrelevant”, “vague” and “speculative”.
Her lawyer, Michael Kump, said the proposed deponents had “no discernible connection” to the statements at issue in the original complaint.
He has applied for the case to be dismissed, arguing that most of the statements at issue are not actionable given that Meghan did not make them, and that those she did make were simply opinions, which were “substantially true in any event.“
He has also applied for the discovery process to be delayed, pending the outcome of the dismissal application.