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UK judge rules that friends of Duchess of Sussex can remain anonymous in privacy case

A British judge ruled Wednesday that the Duchess of Sussex can keep her friends’ names secret while she brings a privacy invasion lawsuit against a British newspaper.

High Court judge Mark Warby said Wednesday, “I have concluded that, for the time being at least, the court should grant the claimant the order that she seeks,” protecting the anonymity of friends who defended Meghan in the pages of a U.S. magazine.

The former Meghan Markle is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website over five articles that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan, 39, is seeking damages from publisher Associated Newspapers Ltd. for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

The duchess asked the judge to prohibit publishing details of female friends who spoke anonymously to People magazine to condemn the alleged bullying she had received from the media. She argued that the friends had a “basic right to privacy.”

Associated Newspapers, which is contesting the claim, says it was Meghan’s friends who brought the letter into the public domain by describing it in the People article.

American actress Meghan Markle married Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

In January, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was unbearable intrusion and racist attitudes from the British media. They are currently based in the Los Angeles area.

No date has been set for the full trial of the duchess's invasion of privacy claim.

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