Who is Samantha Markle and why was her defamation case against Meghan dismissed?

Meghan's estranged half-sister has lost her defamation lawsuit - here's what we know about the case.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 18:  Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the United Nations Headquarters on July 18, 2022 in New York City. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex is the keynote speaker during the United Nations General assembly to mark the observance of Nelson Mandela International Day where the 2020 U.N. Nelson Mandela Prize will be awarded to Mrs. Marianna Vardinogiannis of Greece and Dr. Morissanda Kouyaté of Guinea.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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A Florida court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Samantha Markle against her half-sister Meghan.

The Duchess of Sussex had been accused by her estranged relative of spreading "malicious" lies during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

But on 30 March a judge threw out the case, ruling the comments were "not capable of being proved false" and that Meghan was merely expressing an "opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings".

Samantha Markle had been seeking $75,000 (£60,500) in damages partly over comments Meghan made in her March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, claiming Meghan accused her of trying to cash in on the name "Markle" after she started dating Prince Harry.

The court heard accusations that Meghan lied about her "rags to royalty" background. Samantha Markle had also claimed "great harm" had been inflicted on her and that she had been through "ridicule, contempt and disgrace" on the global stage.

Sam Markle appeared on GMB to speak about her sister. (ITV)
Samantha Markle has been appearing on TV to speak about her sister since Meghan's relationship with Harry went public. (ITV)

Meghan's legal team had called the claims "offensive" and not the "proper subject matter" for a court of law. “Not every perceived slight ought to be litigated and that’s true here", Meghan's lawyer said.

Yahoo UK breaks down who Samantha Markle is, and why she tried to sue Meghan:

Who is Samantha Markle?

Samantha Markle, 58, is Meghan's half-sister and 17 years older than the duchess. She lives in Florida and has multiple sclerosis, which means she needs to use a wheelchair.

Meghan and Samantha's father is Thomas Markle. Samantha's mother — Roslyn — told the Mail Online in 2017 that Samantha "has dogged on Meghan forever", adding: "She's never liked Meghan and she's always been jealous of her."

The two sisters have been estranged for a long time, and Samantha has been highly critical of Meghan since her relationship with Prince Harry was made public in 2016 — dubbing her "princess pushy" and a "social climber".

Samantha's mother isn't the only family member to criticise her for her public comments about Meghan. Thomas Markle Jr — Meghan's half brother and Samantha's full sibling — told the Mail Online that "nobody talks to" Samantha.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 15:  Thomas Markle Jr. attends the Rocco's Collision Presents Celebrity Boxing 68: Thomas Markle Jr v Nacho Press Conference on May 15, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
Meghan's half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr has publicly advised Samantha to leave their younger sibling alone. (Getty Images) (Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images)

'It's why nobody talks to her and hasn't for a long, long time. Leave Meghan alone already – it's ridiculous."

Meghan has remained tight-lipped about her half sister for many years, until she addressed their relationship in the controversial Netflix docuseries about the Sussexes last year.

"My half-sister, who I hadn't seen for over a decade – and that was only for a day and a half – suddenly it felt like she was everywhere," Meghan said in the programme.

"I don't know your middle name, I don't know your birthday. You're telling these people that you raised me and that you coined me 'princess pushy'".

Why did Samantha Markle sue Meghan?

Samantha decided to sue her half-sister following Meghan and Harry's sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

Her complaint was partly based on how many people saw the interview — documents seen by PA are quoted as saying this was "roughly 50 million people in 17 countries".

She said that Meghan "falsely and maliciously" claimed to be an only child in the interview, despite having two half-siblings.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on March 08, 2020 in London, England. The interview first aired in the US on Sunday 7th March on CBS and in the UK on Monday 8th March on ITV. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Nearly 50 million people worldwide watched Meghan and Harry's bombshell interview with Oprah about why they left the Royal Family. (Getty Images) (Chris Jackson via Getty Images)

Samantha claimed that because of Meghan she was subject to "humiliation, shame and hatred on a worldwide scale".

Equally she claimed that Meghan's actions took place with the support of the palace's PR machine as part of a "premeditated campaign" to ruin both her own and her father's reputation.

Samantha's lawyers had also requested to see all communications between Meghan and palace staff about herself, or their father Thomas Markle, as well as Meghan’s call logs.

She had also requested to see Meghan's communications with palace aides that would prove the duchess asked her friends and family not to contribute in anyway to the biography Finding Freedom.

According to Newsweek, Meghan’s lawyers had argued this was an "unwarranted fishing expedition".

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