Meghan Markle issues furious statement to protect friends from court case

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MEGHAN MARKLE has applied to the High Court to prevent Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, from naming her five friends who spoke anonymously to a US magazine to defend her from “bullying”.

Meghan has accused Associated Newspapers of “threatening” to publish the names of the five friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine about the Duchess of Sussex’ relationship with her father. In a strongly-worded statement filed by her legal team, the Duchess said the publisher of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline is trying to “create a circus” as a distraction from the main focus of the High Court case.  

In a witness statement submitted as part of the application, Meghan said: “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. 

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday (Image: PA)

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in a conference call with trustees at the QCT (Image: QCT/YOUTUBE)

“Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has 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 Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.”  

A source said revealing names would throw Meghan’s friends under the spotlight.  

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have relocated to Los Angeles (Image: GETTY)

The source told royal author Omid Scobie: “Failure to protect these women would enable the Mail on Sunday to publish an ‘exclusive’ story about their personal lives, thereby declaring open season for other tabloids and media outlets to follow suit.” 

The identity of Meghan’s friends has been revealed by the Duchess herself in legal documents filed on June 30 after Associated Newspapers requested more information about her lawsuit.  

A Mail on Sunday spokesman said: “To set the record straight, The Mail on Sunday had absolutely no intention of publishing the identities of the five friends this weekend.

“But their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret. 

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are working behind the scenes on Archewell (Image: GETTY)

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle said she was unprotected by the institution (Image: GETTY)

“That is why we told the Duchess’ lawyers last week that the question of their confidentiality should be properly considered by the Court.”

Meghan sued Associated Newspapers after the Mail on Sunday published extracts of her letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle Snr.

The Duchess is accusing the media company of misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act. 

The newspaper denies the claims.   

These legal papers also included claims the Duchess of Sussex was “unprotected by the institution” while also prevented from protecting herself.  

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals in late March (Image: EXPRESS)

Asked by the Associated Newspapers’ legal team to explain why she was “vulnerable” at the time the Mail on Sunday decided to print her private letter, Meghan spoke about her distress.  

The legal documents read: “The Claimant had become the subject of a large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media, specifically by the Defendant, which caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.   

“As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”  

This blistering claim led many to believe the Duchess of Sussex was attacking members of the Royal Family.  

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle sued Associated Newspapers after the Mail on Sunday published extracts of her letter to her estranged father (Image: GETTY)

meghan markle legal case court royal family bullying friends names latest

Meghan Markle and Harry with Archie in South Africa (Image: GETTY)

However, a source told The Times Meghan was unhappy with how the communication team at Kensington Palace handled media reports.  

Meghan, the newspaper wrote, did not agree with the royal mantra ‘never complain, never explain’ and wanted her PR team to deny widely published claims about her. 

The Duchess of Sussex, The Times added, would have been unhappy in particular with two stories – the relentless attacks from her half-sister Samantha Markle and the resignation of her PA Melissa Toubati just six months after the Royal Wedding. 

Meghan and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals in late March last year. 

At the same time, the couple and their son Archie Harrison relocated from Canada to Los Angeles, where they are believed to be working behind the scenes on their new organisation, Archewell. 

Source: EXPRESS CO UK