Meghan Markle has submitted a witness statement in her suit against British tabloids, requesting the UK high court not to disclose the identity of her five friends who anonymously defended her in an article last year.

Meghan Markle has been trying to prevent the British tabloids from naming five of her pals who had given quotes to People magazine. This was days after her private letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle was published by a UK outlet. A source close to the Duchess of Sussex revealed that she has filed an application in the court requesting it to ensure that the names of the five women contained in the confidential file remain undisclosed, reports Hello.

As a part of the court filing on Thursday, the 38-year-old provided a witness statement to protect her friends writing: "Associated Newspapers, the owner of The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, is threatening to publish the names of five women - five private citizens - who made a choice on their own to speak anonymously with a US media outlet more than a year ago, to defend me from the bullying behaviour of Britain's tabloid media."

The former American actress in her statement also noted that she or "these five women are not on trial." "The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case - that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter," the statement read.

The "Suits" alum also stressed that each of these five women is a private citizen, young mother, and has a basic right to privacy. Noting that these names are already available on the court system as well as with the tabloid in question, "to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing."

The mother-of-one further asked the court to treat the legal matter "with the sensitivity it deserves" and requested it to prevent the publisher from breaking precedent by identifying her friends. "The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives," she wrote.

A spokesman for Mail on Sunday responded to the royal's allegations in the court by releasing its own statement, insisting that the tabloid has "absolutely no intention of publishing the identities of the five friends this weekend."

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle attends Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene Getty

"But their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret. That is why we told the Duchess's lawyers last week that the question of their confidentiality should be properly considered by the court," the statement read.