The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been ordered to sit for separate depositions.
The former ‘Suits’ actress is being sued for defamation by her half-sister Samantha Markle, who is seeking damages over the “malicious lies” she alleged were told about her during an interview Meghan and her husband Prince Harry gave to Oprah Winfrey after stepping down from royal duties in 2020, and a judge has now ruled the couple can be quizzed by the author’s lawyers.
Under the order, Meghan and Harry will be forced to answer questions regarding various public statements they have made, including as to whether they think members of the royal family are racist.
The 41-year-old actress – who has Archie, three, and Lili, 20 months, with Harry – had attempted to stop the depositions but her request to the judge was dismissed.
According to RadarOnline.com, Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell stated on the request that: “Defendant Markle does not show that unusual circumstances justify the requested stay, or that prejudice or an undue burden will result if the Court does not impose a stay.”
But the judge warned some elements of the case may be “ripe for dismissal”.
She added: “Although a preliminary peek at the motion to dismiss suggests that some of the claims against her may be ripe for dismissal, the review does not reveal, at this time, a clear indication that the Court will dismiss the action in its entirety.”
Samantha – who previously alleged she has been subjected to “humiliation and hatred” as a result of the claims – is said to want 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.”
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’ 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.