Meghan Markle: Tabloid Threatens to Identify Mysterious "Friend B" In Shocking Courtroom Drama

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2020 has not been particularly kind to Meghan Markle.

Granted, it hasn't been an easy year for any of us, and quarantining is probably a bit easier when you're doing it in a sprawling mansion owned by Tyler Perry, but still -- the Duchess of Sussex has been suffering one setback after another in recent months.

Meghan Markle in Black, White

Almost immediately after she completed her long-awaited move to America, Meghan was forced to contend with rumors that her husband, Prince Harry, is miserable in LA.

Shortly thereafter, Meghan and Harry filed a lawsuit against a photographer, whom they claim illegally snapped a photo of their 1-year-old son through the window of their Malibu home.

That case has yet to be resolved, but on Wednesday, Meghan suffered a defeat in a different civil trial, this one playing out in a London courtroom.

Meghan Markle in Canada: A Photo

Back in February of 2019, a letter that Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, was published by UK tabloid the Daily Mail.

Meghan sued the Mail's publisher, Associated Newspapers Limited, claiming she was the victim of a criminal violation of privacy.

Now, parts of her claim have been thrown out of court, and Meghan has been forced to pay nearly $90,000 to cover the Mail's court costs.

Markle and Prince Harry

The defense successfully argued that the Mail published the contents of the letter only after its existence was revealed in a People magazine article in which five friends of Meghan's sang her praises and pre-emptively lashed out at the British tabloid press.

Attorneys for the defendant hinted that the rebuttal in People was part of an orchestrated campaign master-minded by Meghan, who is thus responsible for making the letter a public matter.

Lawyer Antony White remarked at one point that the duchess was "pleased ... with her friends' intervention."

The Duchess of Sussex

Thus far, the five friends have remained anonymous -- though an attorney accidentally referred to one of them by name during this week's hearings -- but Lane says their claims are so central to the case that they must be identified.

"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," he told the court.

"There is no risk of reprisal in this case," Lane continued.

A Royal Family Photo

"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 attorneys are particularly interested in the identity of the woman known only as Friend B.

She's rumored to be Meghan's former best friend Jessica Mulroney.

Meghan Markle and Jessica Mulroney

The Duchess recently cut ties with the Canadian makeup artist amid allegations of racist behavior on Mulroney's part.

It's unclear, of course, if the Mail's attorneys really believe this information is crucial to their case, or if they're simply hoping Meghan will drop the suit in order to protect her friends' identities.

Either way, it seems Meghan is on the verge of being dealt yet another blow by this merciless year. 

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