Meghan Markle says ‘I’m not on trial’ as she tries to ban ‘vicious’ naming of pals who gave interview to support her

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MEGHAN Markle today declared “I’m not on trial” as she launched a bid to ban the “vicious” naming of five pals interviewed by a US magazine.

The Duchess of Sussex has always denied giving her pals permission to defend her to People magazine in the explosive chat.

⚠️Read our Meghan and Harry blog for the latest news on the Royal couple.

The five close friends of the duchess were interviewed but not named – with Meghan now applying to the High Court to stop their identities being revealed.

The interview revealed that Meghan, 38, had written a letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle, three months after he was unable to walk her down the aisle following a heart attack.

The letter was then published by the Mail on Sunday – with Meghan now suing its publisher Associated Newspapers for breaching her privacy.

The newspaper denies the allegations, saying Mr Markle wanted its content published to correct false impressions her friends had given about the contents in their magazine interviews.

And while Meghan said she had not given her friends permission to speak out, she today hit out at the prospect of them being named if they are called to give evidence.

In a witness statement submitted as part of the application the duchess said: “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.

These five women are not on trial, and nor am I.

“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.”

A Mail on Sunday spokesperson today said they had “absolutely no intention” of publishing the identities of Meghan’s five friends.

They said: “But their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret.

“That is why we told the Duchess’s lawyers last week that the question of their confidentiality should be properly considered by the court.”

Last week, the duchess claimed in court documents that her friends had been “rightly concerned for her welfare when pregnant”.

The Duchess named the pals – although they are only referred to as A, B, C, D and E in the papers – and they could now be called to testify at a trial.

People magazine previously described them as “Meghan’s inner circle – a longtime friend, a former co-star, a friend from LA, a one-time colleague and a close confidante'”.

Meghan has identified one of her five pals, Friend A, as the person who told People magazine the letter said: “Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father.”

She claimed this was an “unfortunately inaccurate” portrayal of her letter, claiming she didn’t know her friend would go public.

Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry are now living in the US after quitting the Royal Family earlier this year.

A pal revealed this week friends fear she is “struggling” and has “gone very quiet”.

Documents filed by Meghan’s lawyers in the High Court recently revealed she felt she had been left “unprotected” by the Royal Family while pregnant with son Archie.

Meghan has also claimed she was the subject of a number of damaging and distressing articles, with Kensington Palace ordering her to say nothing but “no comment”.

Her legal document stated: “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”

In the documents, Meghan also claimed her Royal Wedding made Britain £1billion in tourism cash.

She believes the money raised from the wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 “far outweighed” the contribution stumped up by the taxpayer towards security.

The Duchess recently “cut ties” with her friend Jessica Mulroney after she became caught up in a race row.

The pair had been friends for years, ever since they met in Canada when Mulroney, 40, introduced the then TV star to Toronto’s social set.

Mulroney became embroiled in a war of words with lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter, who claimed Mulroney had taken offence to her ‘generic call to action’ asking white influencers to speak out amid the Black Lives Matter protests.

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