A witness statement has revealed that Meghan Markle is applying to keep her friends' names out of court proceedings with Associated Newspapers, the Telegraph reports. Meghan’s friends spoke out against the tabloids' coverage of her in an article with People magazine published in 2019, where they also discussed her father Thomas Markle.
Meghan is suing Associated Papers for publishing a private letter between her and her father in the Mail on Sunday. The newspaper publisher is arguing that the Mail included the letter because it had already been referenced by Meghan’s friends in the People magazine interview.
“These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” Meghan said in the statement. “The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is the 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.
“Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy,” the Duchess continued, speaking about her friends. “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.”
Meghan went on to say that the Mail on Sunday was "playing a media game with real lives."
Meghan’s lawyers have also requested that this confidential information “must not be used by the Defendant for any purpose except for that of these proceedings (and expressly not for publication in its newspapers).”
In response to these statements, a spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday said that while the newspaper “had no intention of publishing” their identities, they see “no reason why their identities should be kept secret” as their evidence “is at the heart of the case.” They have informed the Duchess's lawyers that they want the question of anonymity "properly considered by the court."