Thursday evening UK news briefing: Duchess of Sussex wins legal challenge against Mail on Sunday

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Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Covid latest: Today's essential headlines

German lockdown | Angela Merkel has backed compulsory jabs as leaders agreed to bring in a de facto lockdown for the unvaccinated. The outgoing German chancellor said that people who are not vaccinated will be excluded from non-essential shops, as well as cultural and recreational venues. These graphs show the levels of unvaccinated people in Europe. Ms Merkel actually has her farewell ceremony tonight after 16 years in power, featuring the work of a provocative punk rocker.

The big story: Meghan wins against the Mail on Sunday

The Duchess of Sussex has won her Court of Appeal case against the Mail on Sunday, as judges ruled her "unfortunate lapse of memory" over briefing her biographers should not change the outcome.

The Duchess, who has hailed her victory as being "not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what's right", has won the support of appeal judges, who found the case over her handwritten letter to her father should not be heard at full trial.

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) had appealed a High Court summary judgement in her favour, presenting new evidence in the form of emails and text messages which showed the Duchess had written the letter "with the understanding that it could be leaked" and had authorised her staff to brief the authors of Finding Freedom.

But, in a ruling today, judges dismissed the appeal.

The Duchess of Sussex - Reuters/Caitlin Ochs
The Duchess of Sussex - Reuters/Caitlin Ochs

Following the judgement, the Duchess released a statement saying she is "reshaping" the tabloid media industry.

In the victory statement, she used the final line to say that tabloid practices are a "daily fail that divide us", in an apparent nod to the nickname used by Daily Mail critics for the newspaper.

A spokesman for ANL said it was considering appealing to the Supreme Court, believing that the case merits a trial.

Read the full statements issued by the Duchess of Sussex and the publisher.

'Victory' is not vindication

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 father?

In the end it did not matter that Meghan had admitted to Jason Knauf, her former communications chief, 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.

Camilla Tominey analyses how, although this was a victory for Meghan and the Royal family, it was not a vindication of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's repeated attacks on the entire press.

Amol Rajan apologises

Meanwhile, BBC journalist Amol Rajan has apologised for "rude and immature" comments about the monarchy, after his impartiality was called into question following his controversial documentary about the Royal family.

The corporation's media editor, who presented a two-part programme about the "Princes and the Press" for the BBC despite his vocal republican views, said he "deeply regrets" his "foolish commentary" after he called the monarchy "absurd" and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's public role a "total fraud". Read on for details.

Evening briefing: Today's other headlines

Around the world: Russia to propose 'security pact'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Moscow would soon put forward proposals for a new European security pact which he said he hoped would stop Nato from expanding further eastwards. Lavrov was speaking at a summit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Stockholm ahead of talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken expected to focus on tensions around Ukraine. Blinken, Nato and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly expressed fears that Russia will soon launch a new attack on Ukraine, an idea Moscow has rejected as fearmongering. Read why Mr Lavrov said Europe was returning to "the nightmare of military confrontation".

Comment and analysis

Thursday interview

Richard Bacon: 'Cancel culture is public shaming in a new guise'

Richard Bacon - Tom Jenner/Television Stills
Richard Bacon - Tom Jenner/Television Stills

Twenty three years after he was fired from Blue Peter for cocaine use, the presenter looks at the phenomenon of modern-day 'book burning'

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: 'I may never walk again', says Cairns

Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns required four open heart surgeries after suffering an aortic dissection and says he has made peace again with the idea of never walking again. In an exclusive interview, he tells Nick Hoult how his illness has helped rebuild bridges. In rugby, Welsh side Scarlets have requested to move their European Champions Cup fixture against Bristol Bears on December 11, warning of "catastrophic" consequences if some players are not given longer to prepare after emerging from quarantine. Read how the club has been left with just 14 fit players, seven of whom are on development contracts. Meanwhile, Austin Healey reflects on how we knew loyalty is dead in professional sport but George Ford's move to Sale Sharks confirms it.

Editor's choice

  1. West Side Story, review | Spielberg's magnificent remake is his finest film in 20 years

  2. There's Something About Miriam | The nadir of reality TV's most 'shameful' era

  3. Festive adventure | 'I'd rather be anywhere but home at Christmas – even if my children hate it'

Business briefing: Rising lithium prices hit EV dream

As demand for electric vehicles grows amid the push for a greener world, carmakers globally are grappling with rising prices of everything from semiconductor chips to copper and aluminium. Now the expense of lithium, a metal found in every commercial electric battery, is starting to bite as a lack of mining capacity strains supplies. Experts say it is likely to get worse. Take a look at lithium by numbers in this graph. Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan has cancelled free Tube travel on New Year's Eve as he scrambles to prop up Transport for London's Covid-hit finances.

Tonight starts now

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, review | Almost ten years on from its triumphant West End run, Marianne Elliott's hi-tech National Theatre production based on Mark Haddon's evergreen novel remains as fresh as ever – and as capable of drawing in the crowds if the full to bursting Troubadour on press night was anything to go by. Claire Allfree describes the undying appeal of this storytelling triumph.

Three things for you

And for this evening's downtime....

What The Beatles: Get Back left out | From Charles Manson to meetings with aliens, Alex Diggins goes over the juicy details you will not find in Peter Jackson's squeaky-clean documentary.

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