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Defamation case against Meghan Markle by half-sister Samantha dismissed by US judge

A US court has dismissed a defamation case brought against the Duchess of Sussex by her half-sister.

Samantha Markle had taken legal action against Meghan Markle over comments she made to Oprah Winfrey and on her Netflix show, Harry And Meghan.

However, she will not be able to refile the case, after Florida judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell dismissed it with prejudice.

The judge, ruling in favour of the former Suits actress, said in a 58-page decision that the plaintiff had "failed to identify any statements that could support a claim for defamation or defamation-by-implication".

Meghan's lawyer Michael J Kump, said: "We are pleased with the court's ruling dismissing the case."

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Samantha Markle, who has the same father as Meghan, claimed the couple's comments during the high-profile tell-all interview with Winfrey in 2021 were "demonstrably false and malicious lies".

The duchess said to Oprah she grew up as an only child, and also said her sister changed her surname back to Markle after she began a relationship with Harry.

The judge said Meghan's statements could not be defamatory because they were either an opinion, "substantially true based on judicially noticed evidence", or "not capable of being considered defamatory".

She went on: "That Plaintiff used one last name and then the name Markle soon after reports of [the] defendant's relationship with Prince Harry were published is substantially true, based on the exhibits in the record, of which the court has taken judicial notice, and the court cannot reasonably infer otherwise."

Samantha Markle first brought a defamation case against her younger sister in March 2022, alleging the duchess had defamed her by giving information to an unauthorised biography called Finding Freedom and by discussing their relationship with Winfrey on live television.

That case was also thrown out last year, after the judge found the duchess could not be liable for the contents of the book because she did not publish it.

Meghan has not spoken to her half-sister for years.