A Florida judge said she doesn’t want the upcoming legal battle between Meghan Markle and her half-sister to become a royal pain, while setting a tentative trial date in the defamation case.
Samantha Markle, 57, is suing her famed semi-sibling in federal court, arguing that the Duchess of Sussex caused her emotional stress by claiming she was raised as an only child during a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The spurned sister also wants damages for a book Markle contributed to, alleging it cast her as a feckless mom who lost custody of her kids.
Judge Charlene Honeywell set a date of October 2023 for the trial, barring a settlement, and said she wants to expedite the proceeding.
“The purpose of this order is to discourage wasteful pretrial activities, and to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of this action,” wrote Honeywell.
The judge also issued a tentative schedule for filing deadlines and estimated a trial length of five days in her Tampa courtroom.
Samantha Markle’s case asserts that Meghan, 41, made her look bad during the high-profile sit-down with Oprah by insisting that she was raised without any siblings.
That claim, she said, cast doubt on her detailed recollections of their time together as kids and served as a “humiliation.”
The royal’s lawyers have countered that Meghan simply bore a “feeling” of having been raised alone and did not assert it as a fact.
Samantha has also taken issue with “Finding Freedom,” a book penned by British journalist Omid Scobie with the assistance of Meghan and Prince Harry.
The suit contends that the book disparages her for losing custody of her children.
Meghan’s legal team has argued that she can’t be sued for a book she didn’t write, and that her estranged sibling’s suit is baseless.
Samantha, they assert, is aggrandizing her past relationship with the royal for personal gain.