Meghan discovered friends were behind article after publication, documents claim

The Duchess of Sussex only discovered a friend had spoken to a US magazine to defend her from tabloid "bullying" during her baby shower, court documents have revealed.

Five of Meghan's friends were interviewed anonymously by People Magazine and one revealed the details of a letter which is the subject of legal action brought by the duchess.

A confidante told the American publication about its content: "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.

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January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-520/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 1/7/20 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan visit Canada House in London, England, UK.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced Wednesday that they were stepping back from their role as "senior members of the royal family"� and would work to become financially independent. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look at a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, central London, UK on January 7, 2020. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Photos/Abaca Press/TNS/Sipa USA)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-107/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 6/19/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex at Royal Ascot Day One at Ascot Racecourse. (Berkshire, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/7/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex at the Endeavour Fund Awards Ceremony held at Drapers' Hall. (London, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 7/5/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House. (London, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-09/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 7/14/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan at the premiere of "The Lion King" in London, England, UK.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/23/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 7/14/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan at the premiere of "The Lion King" in London, England, UK.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/7/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex at the Endeavour Fund Awards Ceremony held at Drapers' Hall. (London, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/24/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan visit Lycée Qualifiant Grand Atlas and meet students and teachers in Asni Town, Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/23/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-09/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 10/22/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island in Australia.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/24/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan visit Lycée Qualifiant Grand Atlas and meet students and teachers in Asni Town, Atlas Mountains, Morocco.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/24/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/24/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 5/8/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning May 6th, at a photocall in St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 12/25/18 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend Christmas church services at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/7/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex at the Endeavour Fund Awards Ceremony held at Drapers' Hall. (London, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 7/14/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan at the premiere of "The Lion King" in London, England, UK.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 10/2/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Johannesburg, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/24/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 10/2/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Johannesburg, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 9/23/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Cape Town, South Africa.
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-22/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 6/9/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex, The Duchess of Sussex and members of The Royal Family at the Trooping The Colour ceremonies as The Queen marks her official birthday - including an inspection of the troops from the Household Division, the Horseguards Parade March in Whitehall and watching a fly-past from the balcony at Buckingham Palace. (London, England, UK)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex during their visit to Morocco tour The Andalusian Gardens. They viewed traditional Moroccan arts and crafts on display in the walled public gardens amid exotic plants, flowers and fruit trees. They met with young social entrepreneurs and discussed youth empowerment in Morocco. (Rabat, Morocco)
January 20th 2020 - Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will no longer use "royal highness" titles and will not receive public money for their royal duties. Additionally, as part of the terms of surrendering their royal responsibilities, Harry and Meghan will repay the $3.1 million cost of taxpayers' money that was spent renovating Frogmore Cottage - their home near Windsor Castle. - January 9th 2020 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex intend to step back their duties and responsibilities as senior members of the British Royal Family. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are received by HM The King of Morocco in an Audience today at the Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. Picture date: Tuesday January 7, 2020. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire PA
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Meghan's lawyers have argued she 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 for further information about when the duchess discovered the five confidantes, 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's legal team have said she would not have agreed to her letter being published. Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Meghan was seven months pregnant with son Archie when she spent several days in New York with A-listers including Amal Clooney and Serena Williams for her baby shower.

The former Suits actress celebrated the impending arrival of her child in what was reportedly the most expensive hotel room in the US, the Penthouse Suite in the five-star Mark Hotel, which at the time cost 75,000 dollars (£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 the duchess 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.

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