Last year, five of Meghan Markle's closest friends anonymously spoke out in defense of the Duchess of Sussex after watching her quietly endure months of intense backlash and criticism from the British tabloids. The group spoke with People to set the record straight about their friend. In recent weeks, Meghan has been fighting keep their identities private in her ongoing court case with the Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers.
On Wednesday (August 5), Meghan's request to keep her friends' names out of the press has been granted by the judge handling her case. Mr. Justice Warby shared his decision to keep the interview participants anonymous "for the time being at least," however, their names had to be disclosed privately in court.
"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," a statement from Meghan's legal team explained. "We are happy that the Judge has agreed to protect these five individuals."
Meghan and her legal team previously expressed concern that the Mail on Sunday would use the knowledge of her friends' identities to intimidate them so that they would not present evidence against the British tabloid. It's believed that, at least some, of Meghan's friends who spoke up in her defense are also in the public eye, as well.
A spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday released a statement claiming the publication had "absolutely no intention of publishing the identities of Markle's friends." The spokesperson added the publication wanted their anonymity "properly considered by the court" saying "their evidence is at the heart of the case."