Meghan Markle wants to protect her friends’ identities. The Duchess of Sussex’s legal team has applied for an injunction to prevent the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday from publicly revealing the names of her five friends, who gave anonymous interviews in her defense to People magazine last year. Prince Harry’s wife provided a witness statement as part of the court filing on Thursday, saying, “Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women - five private citizens - who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behaviour of Britain’s tabloid media.”
“These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case - that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter,” the Duchess added.
Meghan described each of the women as “a private citizen” and “young mother,” who have “a basic right to privacy.” “Both the Mail on Sunday and the court system have their names on a confidential schedule, but for the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing,” the Suits alum said. “I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals - a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.”
A spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday responded (via HOLA! USA’s sister brand HELLO!) to the statement noting that they “had absolutely no intention of publishing the identities of the five friends.” “But their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret,” the statement continued. “That is why we told the Duchess’s lawyers last week that the question of their confidentiality should be properly considered by the court.”
Meghan is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday for breach of privacy and copyright infringement after the British news outlet published extracts of a private letter that wrote to her father Thomas Markle in August of 2018. The letter first came to light last year when five of the Duchess’ “close friends” spoke to People magazine about the “global bullying” Meghan was facing. The American-born royal has denied authorizing her friends to speak with the publication, and has said she was not aware of the story in advance.