The judgment, when it finally came, was swift. "This appeal will be dismissed", declared Sir Geoffrey Vos at the end of a court case that has lasted more than two and a half years.
Summarising the decision made by the Master of the Rolls and fellow judges Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Bean , he made it clear that "the Court of Appeal reiterated the narrowness of the issues it had to debate".
This case had started out in October 2019 as Meghan versus the whole of the press, which she claimed had a vendetta against her.
Over the course of the next 25 months, the scope had become tethered to one central issue: was it proportionate for the Mail on Sunday to have published the contents of a five-page letter from the Duchess to her Daddy?
In the end it didn't matter that Meghan had admitted to her former communications chief Jason Knauf that she had "obviously" written the letter "with the understanding that it could be leaked’ – or that she had referred to Thomas Markle as “Daddy” to "pull at the heartstrings" should it be made public.
The Court of Appeal found that Meghan had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter, despite being “meticulous” in her choice of words so that if her father leaked it "the world will know the truth”.
Of the thought she put into the letter, the Duchess had said: “Trust me, toiled over every detail of the letter which could be manipulated.”
No matter, it was ruled the contents remained "personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest".
The Court of Appeal agreed with Lord Justice Warby, who handed down the summary judgement in Meghan's favour, that it would have been okay for Associated Newspapers Limited to have published a "very small part" of the handwritten correspondence – but not "half the contents of the five page letter" (which Meghan had numbered carefully so it could not be read in part). 585 out of 1,250 words had been published in total.
It simply wasn't "proportionate" to have countered a People magazine article from February 2019 featuring Meghan's friends "speaking the truth" about her relationship with her father by laying bare the contents of the letter.
And what of the Duchess's apology for failing to remember text and email exchanges with Mr Knauf concerning the briefing of the authors of Finding Freedom? Her lawyers had previously claimed she hadn't cooperated with what turned out to be a hagiography – but Mr Knauf's witness statement suggested quite the opposite.
"This was at best an unfortunate lapse of memory on her part," said Lord Justice Bean, diplomatically. A worst case scenario interpretation was conspicuous by its absence.
The result is undoubtedly a triumph not only for the Duchess but the Royal Family – who had been dreading the prospect of the case going to trial, when yet more correspondence between the Sussexes and their staff would inevitably have been laid bare for the media to lap up.
Meghan wasted no time in issuing a jubilant statement describing the judgment as "a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right," warning: "Tomorrow it could be you."
Not-so-subtly referring to the "daily fail", the nickname of the Daily Mail in some quarters, she added: "While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.
"These harmful practices don't happen once in a blue moon – they are a daily fail that divide us, and we all deserve better."
But as the Court of Appeal said – this was a judgment on a narrow issue involving one newspaper. It is not a vindication of Harry and Meghan's repeated attacks on the entire press.
Moreover, what Meghan has shown is that when newspapers get it wrong – there is a legal recourse. If only the same could be said of social media, which continues to publish with impunity.
In exposing the lengths the Duchess went to not only to write a letter to her father – but also to brief Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand so they could write their flattering account of “Megxit”, this case has also revealed just how much control Meghan had all along.
During the Oprah Winfrey interview, she claimed to have been "silenced" by the monarchy. But what we have actually learned from this action is that she had a voice – and knew how to use it.
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