Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex is currently in a legal battle with Associated Newspapers over articles published in a tabloid, Mail on Sunday, which printed parts of a handwritten letter written to her estranged father Thomas Markle in August 2018.
Markle on Thursday sought out a court order to prevent the publishers from publishing names of five of her friends who could be witnesses to the ongoing legal dispute. She wrote in a witness statement to London’s High Court, “These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial.”
"Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy," Meghan further added that the threat to expose their identities was "vicious" and one that "poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing".
The Mail said that five friends of the Duchess put their versions of the events in interviews with the US magazine People and therefore, them publishing the letter was justified.
According to Meghan’s legal team, it was untrue she had authorised or arranged for her friends to tell People about the letter, and on Thursday said Associated Newspapers were threatening to publish their names.
Meghan, Harry and their baby son Archie, who live in Los Angeles, stepped down from royal duties at the end of March because of intense media intrusion into their lives, which largely included the British press being unkind to the Duchess.
Meghan’s lawyers said her friends had spoken out only due to “tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health” caused by some of “false” British tabloid press articles.