Meghan Markle is 'Happy' After Court Rules Her Friends Can Remain Anonymous

Meghan Markle is "happy" after a judge ruled five of her closest friends will remain anonymous "for the time being," a source on her legal team told Newsweek.

The Duchess of Sussex is suing the Mail on Sunday for printing a private letter she sent her father about the breakdown of their relationship.

However, five young mothers within her inner circle have become central to the case and the U.K. tabloid wanted the right to name them.

Meghan had told the High Court their "emotional and mental wellbeing" was on the line should they be publicly outed.

Judge Mark Warby today ruled their names will remain secret for now, though the decision could be reversed if they give evidence.

Following the decision, a source on Meghan's team told Newsweek: "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."

The decision came after Meghan celebrated her 39th birthday yesterday at home with Prince Harry and baby Archie.

Meghan Markle in Tembisa Township
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on the day her legal action against the Mail on Sunday was launched. She is accompanied by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, for a visit to the Tembisa Township during their royal tour of South Africa on October 02, 2019, in Johannesburg. Samir Hussein/Getty

Judge Warby said: "I have concluded that for the time being at least the Court should grant the claimant the orders she seeks, the effect of which will be to confer protection on the sources' identities.

"That is confidential information, the protection of which at this stage is necessary in the interests of the administration of justice.

"This is an interim decision."

The judge added that the situation "may well change as the case progresses" and the argument for secrecy "may fade or even evaporate if and when there is a trial at which one or more of the sources gives evidence."

The five women gave anonymous interviews to People magazine in which they defended Meghan against media criticism of her.

However, one mentioned the letter she sent to Thomas Markle in August 2018, a few months after Meghan and Prince Harry's wedding.

Markle Snr then passed the handwritten note to the Mail on Sunday along with an interview claiming the friends had misrepresented its contents in a way that was unfair to him.

The newspaper published extensive extracts, leading Meghan to sue on grounds of privacy and copyright.

Lawyers for the Mail on Sunday claim the friends would only have spoken out with Meghan's permission, meaning she must have sanctioned People's reporting on the letter.

Meghan denies this, claiming she only found out about their efforts after publication.

The judge today gave a summary of the story behind the People interviews, as told by one of the women, Friend B.

Judge Warby said: "Friend B says that she and the four others spoke to People magazine in early 2019 'on condition of anonymity'.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Queen's Commonwealth Trust
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle on October 25, 2019 in Windsor, England. Jeremy Selwyn

"It was Friend B who organised the interviews. She was concerned at the way the media were treating and portraying [Meghan].

"Friend B spoke to the editor, Jess Cagle, to ask what she could do to help the claimant.

"He 'offered up' having her inner circle of friends talk about [Meghan] anonymously.

"They all agreed to speak on the basis their identities would not be revealed, and they would not have done it otherwise."