Meghan Markle was delighted by the “flattering” interview five unnamed pals gave to People magazine in early 2019, London’s High Court heard Wednesday. In the piece, the friends spoke out, saying she was being bullied by a “racist” press.
The Duchess of Sussex is making a legal pitch to protect their identity, and is suing the Mail on Sunday for breach of privacy after it published portions of a private letter she sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle. The one-day trial hearing was set by judge Mark Warby, as he considers an application from Meghan’s team to prohibit her friends’ names from being publicized.
The High Court learned that one of Meghan’s good friends set up the interviews, as she was closely connected to People’s editorial team.
The Mail, meanwhile, is arguing that their interviews are central to the case because the pal known as “Friend B” referred to the existence of the letter during the interview with People, meaning that “neither the existence nor the contents of the Letter were confidential.”
Lawyers for the Mail said, “They gave flattering material to People about Meghan. She does not complain about what they did — in fact she appears to commend it. The information they disclosed to People was information about the claimant, but is not said by her to be private or information that she seeks to protect.” However, Meghan’s legal team argued that her friends “have not waived their right to anonymity — quite the contrary”.
Markle’s legal team argued, “The fact that the Claimant has named the friends in a Confidential Schedule … does not entitle the media to treat their names as publicly reportable.”
A date for the trial has not been set, but if it does go to trial Meghan’s father may be called to give evidence.
Prince William, meanwhile, thinks the new biography Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand about Meghan and Prince Harry, out August 11th, is their way of controlling the narrative, Us Weekly reports.
“William thinks the book is their calculated way of controlling the narrative and that they took advantage of their entertainment contacts so they’d be painted in a favorable light,” the source says.
The pair stepped down from senior royal duties in January, amid reports of a rift between the Sussexes and Cambridges, and Harry and Meghan’s vocal disagreement with the way the Royals handled the media scrutiny of their lives.