Judge grants 9-month delay to Meghan's lawsuit against paper

A British judge has granted a request by the Duchess of Sussex to postpone the trial of her lawsuit against the publisher of a British newspaper that published portions of a private letter she wrote to her father

LONDON -- A British judge on Thursday granted a request by the Duchess of Sussex to postpone the trial of her privacy lawsuit against a British newspaper publisher, and said the reason for the delay should remain secret.

During a hearing in London, judge Mark Warby granted the application to delay the trial for around nine months, from a scheduled Jan. 11 start date to October or November 2021. The exact date will be set later.

The decision followed a hearing held in private, and Warby said the reason for the delay request should be kept confidential.

Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim at the High Court in London. The publisher did not resist the application to delay, but said the case was causing anxiety to 76-year-old Thomas Markle, who has health problems but intends to come to London to testify at the trial.

“He continues to feel that he has been misrepresented and that the claimant should not be pursuing this claim,” the publisher’s group editorial legal director, Liz Hartley, said in a written witness statement.

“He is anxious that he should have his day in court so that he can tell the truth in public, have his evidence tested under cross-examination and defend himself against the suggestion that he breached the claimant’s privacy without any reasonable justification.”

Early this year, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California.