Prince Harry and Meghan Markle must be deposed in her half-sister’s lawsuit, judge rules

A Florida judge has refused a stay of discovery in the defamation lawsuit filed by Meghan Markle’s sister against the duchess, paving the way for Prince Harry and his wife to give depositions in the case.

Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled on Tuesday that, while a “preliminary peek” at motions filed by the Duchess’ legal team suggested 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 Markle, 58, is suing her younger half-sister for $75,000, claiming defamation and injurious falsehood. The ruling means that Samatha’s lawyers will question the prince and duchess before July if the case continues; the deadline for disclosure of expert reports is 5 May, rebuttal is 5 June, and the discovery deadline is 3 July, according to court documents.

Samantha, who shares a father with Meghan, has taken issue with comments made in the royal couple’s bombshell 2021 interview with Oprah and the 2020 book Finding Freedom. Samantha’s lawyers have presented the court with nearly 40 questions they want answered.

Judge Honeywell ruled on Tuesday that Meghan’s legal efforts to stay discovery until ruling on the motion for dismissal did “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.”

A mediator has also been appointed in the case with the hope of resolving the suit without a trial.

Samantha, meanwhile, has made her own claims about her famous sibling, including in the 2021 memoir The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, and told GB News in January that Prince Harry was “lacking in empathy, remorse and shame.”

Peter Ticktin, a lawyer for Samantha, told The Independent on Tuesday in a statement that, “as to whether we will need Harry’s deposition, that decision is yet to be made.”

“Obviously, if the Duchess should want to call him, we would need to take his deposition,” he said. “Otherwise, we will probably still want to inquire as to some issues.”

Michael J. Kump, who is representing Prince Harry and his wife, did not immediately return a request for comment from The Independent.