Five of Meghan’s friends spoke anonymously to US-based People Magazine and one pal revealed the details of a letter which is now the subject of legal action brought by the Duchess of Sussex against a British newspaper company. Last year a confidante told the American magazine: “She’s like ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship’.”
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over articles which featured parts of the “private and confidential” letter from the Duchess to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
Meghan’s lawyers have argued the Duchess only knew about her friend’s actions after the article was published on February 6 last year.
Her legal team has responded to requests from Associated Newspapers’ lawyers about when Meghan discovered the five friends, only identified as A-E, were behind the article.
The document submitted to the High Court states: “The claimant realised Friends A, B and C had given anonymous interviews to People magazine upon learning that the article had been published.
“Her belief that they had been involved was confirmed during phone calls via FaceTime on the day of publication and the following day.
“The claimant learnt Friend D was one of the anonymous sources for the People magazine article on or around February 19 2019 when the two of them met in person.
“She subsequently learnt of Friend E’s involvement a few days later during a celebration with friends to mark the forthcoming birth of her son.
“This discussion also took place in person. All of these conversations took place post publication.”
Meghan was seven months pregnant with her son Archie when she spent several days in New York for her baby shower with A-listers including Amal Clooney and Serena Williams as one of her former Suits co-stars Abigail Spencer.
It is understood Meghan celebrated the impending arrival of baby Archie in the most expensive hotel room in the US, the Penthouse Suite in the five-star Mark Hotel, which at the time cost £57,000 per night.
Lawyers acting for Associated Newspapers have argued that her five friends brought the letter into the public domain when it was referred to for the first time in their US magazine interview.
They maintain Mr Markle revealed the letter to correct the “false” impression Meghan’s friends had given about his actions in their interview.
Earlier this month Meghan applied to the High Court to stop Associated Newspapers from naming her five confidantes but a spokesman for The Mail On Sunday said the paper had “no intention” of identifying the friends but the question of their anonymity should be considered by the court.
The Duchess is seeking damages, which she has said will be donated to an anti-bullying charity, from Associated Newspapers for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Associated Newspapers wholly denies the allegations, particularly the claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.