Meghan Markle won a temporary victory in her privacy lawsuit against Associated Newspapers on Wednesday, when a judge ruled that she can keep the identities of five friends who spoke to People magazine on her behalf anonymous “for the time being at least.”
The names of the friends are listed in a confidential court document, but known to the public only as A, B, C, D or E. The duchess previously said that she had no knowledge that her friends were speaking to People to defend her, but insisted that their identities remain private.
A spokesperson for Meghan told HuffPost Wednesday in a statement that “the Duchess felt it was necessary to take this step to try and protect her friends — as any of us would — and we’re glad this was clear. We are happy that the Judge has agreed to protect these five individuals.”
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, for the publication of parts of a private letter that she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
The royal is seeking damages from the company over the alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Associated Newspapers has said that its publication of the personal letter in question on Feb. 9, 2019 was justified, as one of Meghan’s unnamed friends was the first to speak of the letter’s existence in a People magazine feature published three days earlier.
The duchess’ attorney, Justin Rushbrooke, previously said that the court had a duty to “protect the identity of confidential journalistic sources,” while Meghan said in a witness statement that “each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.”
A Mail on Sunday spokesman told HuffPost last month that the friends’ “evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret.”
Subscribe to HuffPost’s Watching the Royals newsletter for all things Windsor (and beyond).