Meghan Markle Issues Statement In Attempt To Protect Friends’ Anonymity Amid Newspaper Court Battle

The dispute between Meghan Markle and the Mail on Sunday continues.

It was reported Thursday that the Duchess of Sussex is now trying to stop Associated Newspapers, the owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, from publishing the names of five of her friends who gave an anonymous interview to People magazine in her favour.

ET Canada can confirm Meghan is accusing the paper of exposing her friends “in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain,” alleging the action is “vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental well-being.”

The royal, who is suing the British tabloid paper and Associated Newspapers for publishing a letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle, also pointed out each of her friends were “private citizens,” accusing the Mail on Sunday of “playing a media game with real lives.”

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In a witness statement submitted to the court, 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 U.S. 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, who said she didn’t know about the piece until after it was published, continued: “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.”

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The statement continued, “The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.

“I respectfully ask the court to treat this legal matter with the sensitivity it deserves, and to prevent the publisher of the Mail on Sunday from breaking precedent and abusing the legal process by identifying these anonymous individuals — a privilege that these newspapers in fact rely upon to protect their own unnamed sources.”

A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said it had “absolutely no intention” of publishing the identities of the friends this weekend, the Telegraph reported, but had told Meghan’s lawyers they wanted the question of their anonymity “properly considered by the court.”

“Their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret,” they said.

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