Why Meghan Markle's £1 legal settlement is more than 'a poundshop win'

Meghan Markle will receive just £1 in damages after suing the Associated Newspapers for privacy invasion

Meghan Markle's £1 legal payout more than 'a poundshop win'
(Image credit: NDZ/Star Max/GC Images/Getty)

Meghan Markle's legal win against the Mail on Sunday for privacy invasion will see the royal icon receive just £1 in damages—but it's not as disappointing a result as you might think. 

  • Meghan Markle will receive £1 in damages after winning her legal battle against Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of Mail on Sunday. 
  • The 'nominal sum' for breach of privacy will be awarded alongside a significantly larger amount for copyright infringement after the British tabloid circulated extracts of the Duchess of Sussex's personal letter to her father in 2018. 
  • In other royal news, ticket to see Queen in Christmas pantomime goes up for auction.

The Duchess of Sussex has been awarded £1 in damages from Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) after a London court ruled last month that the Mail on Sunday had invaded her privacy. 

The British tabloid was sued by Meghan for 'copyright infringement' and 'breach of privacy' in 2018 after it published extracts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. 

In December 2021, a High Court judge rejected the Mail's appeal that the case should go to trial and ruled in the Duchess' favor. The ANL now must pay Meghan a nominal sum of £1 for misuse of private information, as well as "a confidential sum" for copyright infringement. 

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visits 1 World Trade Center on September 23, 2021 in New York City

Meghan Markle will receive £1 in damages from the Mail on Sunday 

(Image credit: Photo by Gotham/GC Images via Getty)

The exact amount of the latter damages has not been disclosed, but a spokesperson for Meghan has confirmed that it is "substantial" and will be donated to charity. The ANL has also been ordered to cover the Duchess' legal costs of £300,000, by 7 January 2022. 

While the £1 cheque will hardly make a dent in Meghan's estimated net worth of £10 million, it's far from a disappointing result. 

The Duchess has been repeatedly clear that she was motivated by morals over money in this long-running case, calling the win "a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right" in her December 2021 statement. 

Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Pacific Press / Contributor)

She also indicated back in March 2021 that she was willing to accept 'nominal damages' over the privacy claim, before her lawyer added, "We are not trying to punish the defendant, we just want to get something that’s proportionate and reflects the findings your lordship has made." 

"The £1 might sound like small change, but Meghan's big ambition was about the principle rather than the pay-off," royal correspondent Sean Coughlan told the BBC.

It's also important to keep in mind that the nominal damages for the privacy breach have been ordered alongside "a much higher confidential amount over the copyright claim." 

"Plus the newspaper had to publish a front page statement about her courtroom success," said Sean. "It was much further reaching than a poundshop win." 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.