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  HOME | Society (Click here for more)

Meghan Markle Wins First Battle in War against Tabloids



LONDON – Meghan Markle won on Wednesday the first court battle to keep her friends anonymous in her war against the British tabloids.

The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline were forbidden from revealing the names of Markle’s five friends who gave an anonymous interview in her defense in the United States.

This ruling was made by the High Court in London, where Markle’s lawyers appeared last week to prevent them from revealing the identities of the five individuals, which became known to the tabloids when Markle’s lawyers named them in a confidential document filed with the court this month.

Markle has sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) for the publication of five articles, two in the Mail on Sunday and three on MailOnline, in February 2019. The articles reproduced excerpts from a handwritten letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018, five months after she married Prince Harry.

The court case to determine whether there was a misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act by these ANL is not expected to begin until next year. Preliminary proceedings have already begun and it was in this context that the High Court ruled in favor of the couple.

Markle and her husband Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, stepped down from royal duties and ceased to represent the British monarchy at the end of March. The couple has since left the United Kingdom for the US and said this was partly because of pressure from British tabloids.

Lawyers for the publications argued that the anonymous interviews, which were published in the US by People magazine, are central to ANL’s defense, and justified the publication of the letter on the grounds that Markle had already revealed its existence through her friends’ testimonies.

In a statement submitted to the court, she said she did not authorize her friends to talk to the magazine, but that they had decided to defend her from the “bullying behavior of the British tabloids.”

Markle added that there was no other reason to make their names public other than to achieve commercial gain and would pose a threat to their “emotional and mental well-being.”

Judge Mark Warby agreed with these arguments and decided that “for the time being at least,” the court would grant the order to protect their anonymity.

 

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