Duchess Meghan’s friends won’t be named by the Daily Mail… for now

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and HRH The Countess of Wessex attends the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Sunday 10 November 2019

I’m actually really tired of writing about the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuit against the Mail. The pre-trial hearings and filings are endless, which is just what the Mail wanted. They wanted to drag this out for as long as possible to create stories and content and, more than that, confusion. The truth is quite simple: the Mail had no right to publish Meghan’s letter to her father. They were wrong. This should have been settled out of court, that’s how cut-and-dry the case is. But the Mail continues to harp on and on about how Meghan’s friends went to People Magazine to defend Meghan. The Mail has threatened to publish the names of those friends, and Meghan sought an injunction (or the British equivalent of an injunction). Which was just tentatively granted, so a smallish victory for Meghan in this neverending lawsuit saga.

The Duchess of Sussex has won the right to keep secret the identity of five friends who spoke to a US celebrity magazine about her relationship with her father. Meghan, 39, had argued that publicly naming her best friends would be an “unacceptable price to pay” in her privacy case against The Mail on Sunday.

Mr Justice Warby said at the High Court that it was an “unusual” application in which a newspaper was seeking to identify confidential media sources. He ruled that the friends should remain anonymous “in the interest in the administration of justice” but the said decision could be reviewed as the case develops. The judge said the anonymity order would enable “shielding the friends from the glare of publicity in the pre-trial stage”.

The court heard there is evidence to suggest that the duchess’s advisers were “energetically briefing the media about these proceedings from the outset”. He said that a copy of Meghan’s witness statement was posted on the Twitter feed of Omid Scobie, co-author of the biography Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Family which was serialised in The Times. It was “accompanied by a quotation attributed to ‘a close source’, criticising the Mail for wishing to ‘target five innocent women through the pages of its newspapers and its website’,” the judge said.

Mr Justice Warby said: “Mr Scobie then tweeted the passage from the witness statement that I have quoted above. The inference invited is that he had been provided with a copy by representatives of the claimant. This seems very likely.”

A source close to Meghan welcomed the anonymity ruling, saying: “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. We are happy that the judge has agreed to protect these five individuals.”

[From The Times]

It sounds like good news for Meghan BUT it also sounds like yet again, the “establishment” is going to force Meghan to play by a different set of rules. All of this harping on and on about what Meghan is leaking to Omid Scobie or what her friends are telling media outlets… like, every royal and every celebrity does that. The Duchess of Cambridge does that. The Prince of Wales does that. Prince William 100% does that. Angela Kelly does that. And yet Meghan is the one being nitpicked about it. Anyway, again… this is a mess and the Mail wants it to be a mess.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit Auwal Mosque in Cape Town

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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45 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s friends won’t be named by the Daily Mail… for now”

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  1. notasugarhere says:

    Now she needs an injunction to prevent the Fail from ‘reporting’ on the case.

    • Nic919 says:

      It’s amazing how the UK media was prepared to have a blackout about William having an affair with Rose but they are fine with reporting and distorting an active lawsuit where they could be tainting a jury pool, as this matter hasn’t started trial yet.

    • Olenna says:

      Yes, an injunction is/was needed, and I can’t understand why this wasn’t done or at least requested from the beginning. That the defendant is allowed to profit from this case is just sickening and unjust.

      And, yes, Kaiser. This case is a mess, a royal fukking mess.

  2. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    They’ll bend the law into a pretzel to break her.
    But she won’t break. Not our Meghan.

    • bub244 says:

      They won’t. The British legal system has its flaws but our judges are genuinely impartial and, to be honest, Meghan isn’t important enough for anyone to be tempted to ‘bend’ any laws.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        Do you really think that this particular judge, given his history, is genuinely impartial?
        I’ve worked in legal circles and the cynicism and search for loopholes genuinely shocked me.

      • Mary says:

        LOL, someone who sweepingly says “our judges are genuinely impartial” has not worked around a lot of judges, if any!!!

      • Elizabeth Regina says:

        Hahahaha! Our judges are impartial. Yes they are indeed! To old Etonians, the aristocracy, well placed tories and senior members of the armed forces maybe. Considering over 70% of our judges are privately educated and run the system, long may their ‘impartiality’ reign.

      • bub244 says:

        Yes, I know many many people in the legal system. Again, the system is not perfect. But judges in the UK are more impartial than almost anywhere in the world. And again, Meghan is not so important that she would bend the entire institution of the judiciary in the course of a copyright case. I know we all like Meghan, but that’s a little ridiculous. On this point of law, the judge has sided with her.

      • Lizzie says:

        She is important enough to generate multiple articles daily in the daily fail.
        She is important enough that the Royal Family has waged a campaign against her.
        She is important enough that TROLLS continually have to say she is not.

      • Nic919 says:

        I can’t speak for UK judges but I would say canadian judges are fairly impartial and they have to go through a rigorous process for selection. Just because a lawyer worked for a certain side on an issue doesn’t mean they will necessarily side with that side as a judge. Lawyers are hired to make the best case for their client and it’s their job to push forward a position. They may not even agree with the client but you are unlikely to ever know that if the lawyer is any good. That’s why I have concerns about the aspersions being made against this judge.

        Is there class and gender bias? Sure, but that doesn’t mean every decision made that doesn’t favour Meghan’s position was based on being sexist or racist or pro media. There needs to be a legal basis for every decision made and if it’s wildly out there, it will be appealed.

      • bub244 says:

        Lizzie, I’m not saying she’s not important. Clearly she is and you’re right about the Daily Mail and the Royal Family. That has no impact on the judiciary though, which in this country is separate from both. Not sure how that statement makes me a troll.

  3. BayTampaBay says:

    If Meghan’s sources are not to be revealed, does this protect the Daily Fail from not having to reveal their sources on all the falsehoods printed about Frogmore Cottage and the cost of Meghan’s clothing?

    • notasugarhere says:

      They wouldn’t have to reveal those anyway. Leaking lies about Meghan isn’t criminal activity, so the Fail would say they’re ‘protecting their journalistic sources’.

      I think Meghan’s point was, there is no legal reason why the Fail should be allowed to release the names of her friends. They have done nothing illegal. Them talking to a magazine about Meghan’s mistreatment does NOT open the letter up to be free of Meghan’s personal copyright, no matter what the Fail argues.

    • MsIam says:

      I believe those issues pertain to the part of the case that was dismissed due to not being relevant to the copyright issue.

    • Becks1 says:

      That was something the judge talked about – how journalists usually fight to protect their sources, and here they want to expose sources – so while I don’t think he came out and said it, there was an implication that this could set a bad precedent for the Mail.

  4. TeamMeg says:

    I love her so much. Good that the court upheld Meghan’s very reasonable, legally and ethically sound request. Infuriatingly obtuse the DM even made anonymity an issue. Soldier on, Duchess!

  5. Ainsley7 says:

    The DM didn’t settle because they knew they could make more money off reporting about the case than they stand to lose from the case. Even if they lose, they will still win. It sucks for H&M, but there will be no real justice here. The DM knew what the laws were when they printed the letter. They knew that she might sue, and they knew that they could milk that for all it’s worth.

    • Belli says:

      Exactly. Even if they lose, they’ll spin it as Meghan losing and all they care about is making money and convincing as many people as they can that she’s awful in the meantime.

    • STRIPE says:

      IMO, unfortunately they’ve already won. They won the minute she sued them because now they are within their rights to do things like ask for her friends names etc because they are defending themselves, milking the story for clicks all along the way. It’s unfair, but it’s the truth as far as I can see.

  6. Sofia says:

    Good. The friends have been named in the confidential court papers so the people who need to know (aka actively involved with the case from a legal perspective) so the Fail wanting them revealed is just so that they can smear them.

  7. Jegede says:

    The audacity of The Times is breathtaking.🙄

    Justice Warby called out both parties’ actions in his reading.

    But that paper only singled out what the judge said about Meghan, while completely ignoring his equally contemptuous remarks about the MOS.

  8. edenburning says:

    I firmly believe that people should be entitled to privacy except where their actions impact on legitimate public concerns. Whose concern are letters between Meghan and her father? Come on.

  9. S808 says:

    I can’t wait for this case to be done with for Meghan’s sake. One less thing to deal with from that island.

  10. aquarius64 says:

    I still see it as a victory for Meghan. I think the judge saw the Fail was out to expose the friends to smear them and damage their credibility. DM lawyers can challenge their statements at trial where they can be eventually named. Scobie’s book is now tied to this suit which will juice the sales. BM and the BRF better start sweating. No telling what else comes out that may hurt them.

  11. Abena Asantewaa says:

    Meghan is brave, she will be victorious, because no paper will publish her private correspondents without permission ever again. Happy birthday Duchess. The judge does go on a bit, it was all pointless nitpicking. A good move that we knew what Meghan was going to say, that way, the judge could not be bias, all eyes were watching. This case won’t go to court, because daily mail will settle, they just want to milk it for a bit more money before..

  12. Freedancer says:

    She should not go on. They are going to crush her friends and her. Even if she wins, they are not going to let that go. Justice is only a word on this case : it is not about what is fair, it is about who knows and bends the rules. They have decades if pratice. I get why she wanted to seek justice and clear her name, but she will have to play very dirty to break them. And even if she could, this will crush her réputation. Dirty IS their réputation they absolutely dont care even if they loose ! But they will make her do stuff she doesnt want. Come on she has to fight to protect witness. What the hell! They just see that as a game. She cannot win at the end even if she wins the trial (and i dont see a win for her in this trial)

    • Jegede says:

      What reputation is left to crush?

      Anyway, Prince Charles won his copyright claim against the MOS. As have several others.

      There’s no turning back now.

      Besides, Thomas Markle is a far more unpredictable/dangerous witness for the MOS, they should worry on that.

      • Freedancer says:

        I am pretty sure her friends will reveal she gave them the go to talk about the letter. I dont blame her. That is what everyone is doing .. but the way they painted or will paint her, she will just pass as manipulative. Even if it was an act of despair to me. Wanting to proove her good faith and that she tried to fix things.
        Even is she wins, they hold a grudge : they will just find other ways to mess with her.
        She goes after an institution. She should go after journalists that lied, individuals. A taste of their own medecine. That may be toomean I feel guilty writing it. I really feel for her because i cannot imagine the stress of having to protect so many people. I think she will give up…

    • lanne says:

      If she gives up now she has to pay the DM court costs and lawyers fees. You can’t just walk away from a lawsuit (and rightfully so, b/c people would file frivolous lawsuits left and right). She’s committed to this course of action, and has to see it through. They knew they were taking a risk when they filed the lawsuits. But get this: Prince Charles has sued, The Cambridges sued for the nude photos tken by tele-lens (and rightfully so). Acting as if Royals have never sued before is disingenous. They have sued before, leaked to journalists before, cooperated with books before. This is just the British media, once again, punishing Meghan for existing in the first place. Both the tabloid and mainstream media are complicit here in holding her to standards that none of the other royals are held to (imagine what would have happened had Meghan’s hems flown up, or if she had been photographed topless, or got duped into saying disparaging things about the Queen on tape a la Sophie). Meghan never stood a chance. The BRF can suck it.

      • Lila says:

        Exactly. From what I understand, her case is just like Charles’s. They needed her permission to publish the letter, they didn’t have it and published anyway. They weren’t worried because they expected their pals at the Palace to convince them not to sue. Some reporters even outright said that the royals needed to tell them to drop the suit.

        @FREEDANCER Why would you be pretty sure the friends will say that when Meghan went on record to say “I didn’t know they were planning this”? Are you implying Meghan lied in court documents? I’m sorry, but I simply don’t get what you mean. This will look bad for them outside the UK. Why?

      • Freedancer says:

        I agree. They just blame her for breathing.
        Remember when she said ” i knew it would be hard but i thought it would be fair” . On point.
        This will never. They made the right decision to leave, but i think she just should leave that behind. That reminds of an ex that owed me money. I was holding on my money but i let go to move on and that is better than any money. (But i got my revenge. Just not on money ;)). If you know the chinese game called “go” : when you are stranded on your “field”, enlarge it, play elsewhere and let them have it to have better (l have a hard time translating that one hahaha)

  13. Freedancer says:

    Their reputation in UK maybe, but i dont think their reputation is bad in other countries. And that story would be very bad for them outside of UK.

  14. MrsBanjo says:

    Can you imagine if they keep pushing and pushing to the point where Harry goes full scorched earth? He’s already said “If you knew what I know…”

  15. Freedancer says:

    I assumed they were allowed bacause if they were not they would have betrayed her and then I dont understand why she would protect people hurting her. But she did protect her father after all he had done so.. I guess you are right. And I forgot it meant she lied in court document.

  16. Freedancer says:

    Would be lying. F*** english grammar !!!

  17. Lila says:

    @FREEDANCER If Meghan gives up this case, she’s done and they will NEVER allow her to move on. As for the friends, they may have spoken to Harry – who actually contacted the tabloids, asking them to cool it because he was concerned with his wife’s health – and he gave them the go ahead. Either way, that still does NOT give them permission to publish that letter. And MoS knows it. That’s why they want to focus on anything but this very fact.

  18. Amy says:

    I am speculating here, but I really wonder if the Mail is not trying to force Meghan’s hand. If they can ever get permission to reveal the names of her friends, I think it is possible that she would drop the suit. During the last hearing, a comment that naming her friends was too high a price. The Mail and their team are possibly banking on forcing her to bow out.

  19. tolly says:

    So the judge allows the Mail to publish court filings almost in real time, but if they turn up at a different news outlet, he blames Meghan for endangering her friends? Got it.

  20. M says:

    It was reported here in the UK that she already had to pay a massive amount of the DM’s fees for round one, maybe £67,000 or something?

    I figured they just weren’t reporting negative stuff here but I believe she’s already had to pay massive costs for them this early on in the game :/

  21. Juniper says:

    This is such a non sequitur. It doesn’t matter if she allowed her friends to speak to People. It’s not a blanket allowance to a completely different publication. UGH this is so ridiculous.

  22. February-Pisces says:

    Remember a few days ago when the fail had the headline front and centre about how William and Kate ‘rolled out the red carpet’. Well that article sites ‘friends’ of the couple as their sources. In fact every article on the daily mail involving any royal sites ‘sources’. So who are their ‘sources’ and why is it so important that Meghan had one small article defending her reveal her ‘sources’? Who were the Tatler sources? Oh I forgot it was revealed to be kate herself and KP.

  23. aquarius64 says:

    Let’s not forget the letter: the original Meghan sent to Bad Dad and he “gave” to the Fail and it printed parts of it. Meghan’s lawyers submitted a copy of the redacted letter in court. The judge could order the letter un-redacted and see the parts that really make TT look bad. If the friends are going to be compelled to testify, so will Bad Dad. That’s the last thing the Fail wants.

  24. BnLurkN4eva says:

    If I was one of the friends, I would come forward and and say, it’s me, so? I guess I understand being a bit reluctant to have the MOS on your tail, see Meghan, but for certain people in my life I would absolutely do this and it would also give said friend leave to do interview where they could reveal what they know. Someone need to stand up to the BM and I’m glad Meghan is not backing down, I hope she never does. They’ve been going at her since it was revealed she was dating Harry, so she really has nothing left to lose at this point.