Meghan Markle trying to keep friends’ identities secret in lawsuit
Meghan Markle was happy with the “flattering” interview that five of her closest friends gave to People magazine, a London court heard on Wednesday.
The Duchess of Sussex is making a legal bid to protect the identity of the women who spoke out to complain that she was being bullied.
She’s currently suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper for breach of privacy after it published a private letter she had sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The High Court heard that one of Markle’s best friends arranged the interviews as she was close to People’s editor.
The Mail on Sunday argued that their interviews are central to the case because one of them — known only in the public documents as “Friend B” — referred to the existence of Markle’s letter during her interview.
It maintained that following the People magazine interviews that were published last year ”neither the existence nor the contents of the Letter were confidential.”
Mail on Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers said the names should be made public and argued that Markle cannot fight for their privacy since she “freely” named them in court documents.
Lawyers for the newspaper said, “They gave flattering material to People about [Markle].
“[She] does not complain about what they did — in fact she appears to commend it.
“The information they disclosed to People was information about the claimant, but is not said by her to be private or information that she seeks to protect.”
However, Markle ‘s legal team argued that her friends “have not waived their right to anonymity — quite the contrary”.
She also insisted that she had no knowledge of the interviews in advance and would not have condoned them if she had been aware.
The names of the five friends are in the private section of the court documents.
Markle’s legal team argued, “The fact that the Claimant has named the friends in a Confidential Schedule … does not entitle the media to treat their names as publicly reportable.”
Earlier this month, the Mail on Sunday’s legal team told the Duchess’ lawyers that they regarded the names of the friends as being “properly reportable by the media.”
No date has been set for this trial but if it does reach that stage it is possible that Meghan’s father will have to give evidence against his daughter.
The newspaper maintains it was acting in the public interest as Markle was — at that time — a senior working member of the royal family who was publicly funded.