The Duchess of Sussex has won a High Court bid to keep secret the identities of five friends who gave an anonymous interview to a US magazine, in the latest stage of her legal action against Associated Newspapers. Mr Justice Warby ruled that Meghan's friends will remain anonymous "for the time being at least," in a judgement on Wednesday.
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A source close to the team representing the Duchess said: "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, publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over articles which featured parts of a "private and confidential" letter from the Duchess to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
The five close friends of the Duchess were interviewed but not named in a PEOPLE magazine article - something Meghan says she was not involved with.
The judge has ruled that the identities of Meghan's five friends will remain anonymous for now
Last month, the Duchess provided a witness statement, in which she 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.
"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."
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