If you were hoping to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's faces back in the UK within the next couple of months, we're sorry to report it's pretty unlikely. Pandemic aside, the couple were expected to come back in early January, just in time for Meghan's High Court trial in the privacy case against the Mail on Sunday. But the trial has now been pushed back nine months, until October 2021.
Meghan is suing for a breach of privacy, copyright and data protection after the newspaper published a private letter written to her dad, Thomas Markle, shortly after her wedding in 2018. The trial was supposed to commence on 11 January, 2021, but the Duchess of Sussex and her legal team requested a delay in proceedings after some unexpected developments.
Last month, the Mail on Sunday's lawyers successfully argued that a biography about the Sussexes published over the summer, Finding Freedom, could be used as part of its defence. Although Meghan Markle and Prince Harry claim they did not authorise the book, the newspaper suggested that the biography's authors, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, had been given access to extensive personal and private information. They argued (and the court agreed) that this was relevant considering Meghan was suing for privacy.
This week, the lawyers on both sides of the case attended a private hearing in court where some further "relevant information" regarding the delay was heard behind closed doors. It is not known exactly what that information was, but the ultimate outcome is that the trial date has been postponed by nine months, until at least October 2021.
When Meghan and Harry do eventually make a return to the UK from their new base in Montecito, California, they'll be able stay in their residence here - Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. The couple were gifted the property by the Queen for their wedding, but after they stepped down as senior royals they offered to repay the £2.4million of taxpayer money that was spent on renovating it so they could keep it. The Sussexes paid all that money back this year.
Earlier this month, a source told the Sun that "staff at Windsor have been told to prepare [Frogmore Cottage] for the possibility Harry could come back." The insider added that "Meghan’s name was not mentioned" in conversations about a return, so it may be that Prince Harry is planning a solo return before Christmas. With nothing having been publicly confirmed, and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to grip the world, travel is still precarious, so any plans are likely to be up in the air.
But whenever Meghan and/or Harry do come back to the UK for a visit, we'll look forward to welcoming them!
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