ET has learned that Justice Warby has declared that Markle has won her fight in the High Court to protect her friends' names "for the time being at least."
A source close to Markle tells ET, “The duchess felt it was necessary to take this step to try and protect her friends — as any of us would — and we’re glad this was clear. We are happy that the judge has agreed to protect these five individuals.”
These five unidentified women, who have previously been described as "private citizens" and "young mother[s]," spoke up anonymously in Markle's defense in a People magazine article last year. Markle claims she had nothing to do with her friends' decision. The piece was the first to reference the handwritten letter between the duchess and her estranged father, Thomas Markle. The letter was later published by the Mail on Sunday, which is the grounds for the duchess' lawsuit against the tabloid.
Though a spokesperson for the Mail on Sunday previously said the publication had "absolutely no intention of publishing the identities of Markle's friends, it wanted the question of their anonymity "properly considered by the court" saying "their evidence is at the heart of the case."
Markle and her representatives previously accused the Mail on Sunday of attempting to intimidate her friends so that they would not present evidence against the British tabloid.