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Meghan Markle loses first round of legal battle with Mail ...agrees to pay more than £67,000 in lega

Meghan Markle (pictured with Prince Harry in October 2018)

Meghan Markle has agreed to pay £67,000 in legal costs after losing the first round of her battle against the Mail on Sunday's publisher.

The duchess is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the newspaper and MailOnline, over an article published in February 2019 which reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father.

But in May, the High Court's Mr Justice Warby struck out parts of the Meghan's claim, including allegations of 'deliberately stirring up' issues between her and her father.

A written submission from July 22 has since shown that the duchess has agreed to pay in full the publisher's costs for the strike-out hearing of £67,888.

The hefty bill was revealed as the court heard Meghan believes naming the five female friends who briefed People magazine about her and a letter sent to her father Thomas would be an 'unacceptable price to pay' for pursuing a claim against Associated Newspapers.

The Duchess of Sussex has applied for an order to keep secret the identities of the women, all 'young mothers', at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Today a skeleton argument presented to the court by Meghan's legal team said: 'To disclose their identities to the public at this stage is an unacceptable price to pay for the right to pursue her claim for invasion of privacy'.

But in an embarrassing moment during the application Meghan's QC Justin Rushbrooke accidentally said the surname of one of the five friends the Duchess of Sussex is seeking to keep anonymous.

Judge Mr Justice Warby, who is expected to rule on the matter in August, immediately directed that the individual's name was not to be reported.

The five women were named as the sources of a People Magazine article in 2019 in legal papers submitted by Meghan to the court earlier this month, although their identities were not made public.

Meghan, pictured, with her father

The People article lies at the heart of her privacy and copyright case against the Mail on Sunday because it was the first time the existence of a letter the Duchess had written to her father Thomas was revealed.

In response Antony White, QC for Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, told the court that the principle of open justice in Britain means the five friends should be named. Mr White also said Meghan was apparently 'pleased ... with her friends' intervention' in speaking to People magazine, apart from the reference to the letter she wrote to her estranged father.

Meghan's QC Justin Rushbrooke accidentally said the surname of one of the five friends the Duchess of Sussex is seeking to keep anonymous in the High Court

He said: 'There is no proper evidential basis (for the application). There is no evidence at all from four of the five friends and the evidence from the fifth (Friend B) has been shown to be unsatisfactory.'

Mr White said: 'There is no risk of reprisal in this case.' The barrister added: 'The information they disclosed to People was information about the claimant, but is not said by her to be private or information that she seeks to protect.'

The Mail On Sunday claims that revelations in People and the misleading impression it gave of the letter gave Thomas Markle the right to publish more of the handwritten note in the newspaper to defend himself after their relationship became hopelessly estranged in the wake of Meghan's marriage to Harry in May 2018.

Judge Mr Justice Warby

Source: Read more from

My view: It won't be long before Meghan Markle's so called friends start revealing themselves.

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