The devastating breakdown in Meghan Markle’s relationship with her father was laid bare yesterday in a series of messages between the pair detailed by court papers.
He has handed over previously unseen messages and letters which set out how he made desperate attempts to mend their relationship after heart surgery forced him to miss her wedding.
In one message he accused Prince Harry of treating his heart attack as an ‘inconvenience’, adding: ‘I’ve done nothing to hurt you, Meghan or anyone else.’
In another, he said that Meghan had effectively ‘written me off’. The exchanges between Mr Markle and his daughter were detailed in documents filed to the High Court in London yesterday.
Thomas Markle has handed over previously unseen messages and letters which set out how he made desperate attempts to mend their relationship after heart surgery forced him to miss her wedding. (pictured: a young Meghan Markle with her father Thomas)
The Duchess of Sussex has launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail’s sister paper, accusing the newspaper of breaching her privacy and her copyright by publishing extracts of a five-page letter she wrote to her father in August 2018. In the letter, Meghan, 38, chastised her father for ignoring her calls and said he had ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.
Meghan’s legal team has claimed she was ‘shocked and deeply upset’ when her ‘private letter’ to her father was published.
The documents lodged at the court yesterday detail the newspaper’s defence to her allegations. They say Mr Markle, 75, has never met his eight-month-old grandson Archie, nor been introduced to Prince Harry, although they have spoken on the phone.
His only contact with his daughter since her wedding day was the August 2018 letter, in which she accused him of lying about her and inflicting ‘unnecessary and unwarranted pain’ on her and her new husband.
As part of the legal action, Mr Markle has agreed to appear as the newspaper’s key witness, should the case go before a judge later this year.
He has handed over his own medical records and his correspondence with Meghan, which reveals how their relationship broke down in the final fortnight before her wedding.
His only contact with his daughter since her wedding day was the August 2018 letter, in which she accused him of lying about her and inflicting ‘unnecessary and unwarranted pain’ on her and her new husband (pictured: Meghan and Prince Harry on their wedding day at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018)
Harry and Meghan wave as they leave Windsor Castle by car to attend their reception in Frogmore House
According to the messages detailed in the defence papers yesterday, Thomas Markle initially sent touching messages to his daughter, which spoke of his excitement about her upcoming wedding – before he told of his devastation when a heart attack forced him to abandon plans to walk her down the aisle. In the messages, he repeatedly told Meghan that he loved her.
But the messages made clear how their relationship began to break down after it was revealed that he had secretly agreed to stage a series of paparazzi-style pictures of himself preparing for the wedding.
In documents lodged at the High Court, defence lawyers said Meghan had shown a disregard for her father’s wellbeing. They said that even after he explained his cardiac condition and that doctors said he couldn’t fly, he was on the receiving end of an admonishment from Harry.
She did not make it clear that he was forced to abandon plans to attend her wedding because of his poor health, and she then ignored his repeated attempts to contact her after the wedding, they alleged.
Lawyers for the Mail on Sunday told the court: ‘If the Claimant [the Duchess of Sussex] had been or was concerned about her father and his welfare, she would not have cut her father, a sick 75-year-old man, out of her life for the perceived sin of speaking to the Press about his daughter who had become a famous royal duchess.’
May 10, 2018
According to the defence papers, Mr Markle texted his daughter to say he had dropped off some flowers at her mother’s house for Mother’s Day. In a touching message, he told Meghan he was excited about trying on some shoes she had bought for him to wear to her wedding. She had also bought him a new suit.
He ended the text with a poignant message that it was ‘past her bedtime’ because of the time difference, adding: ‘I love you.’ He wrote: ‘I look forward to trying on my shoes and see how we look thank you for getting it ready for me its [sic] probably past your bedtime so have a good night I love you Dad.’
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018
May 11 or 12
The news is about to break that Mr Markle had secretly agreed with a photographer to stage a series of paparazzi-style pictures – despite pleas from Prince Harry for the media to leave his future father-in-law alone. At the time, it was reported that CCTV had caught him posing in an internet café for photographs which showed him looking at a news story about his daughter’s romance with the prince.
Kensington Palace had previously issued a warning to publishers to respect his privacy, saying he had been ‘harassed’ by paparazzi. A letter by Prince Harry’s communications secretary Jason Knauf said he had been followed and urged editors not to publish pictures of him. But the Mail on Sunday revealed a series of photographs had been taken with his co-operation in March. Mr Markle, Meghan and Harry spoke on the phone before the story broke.
Kensington Palace issued a statement in which it confirmed that Mr Markle would not attend the wedding. It said: ‘This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.’
The defence papers say that on that day, Mr Markle wrote to his daughter to apologise for the furore over the posed photographs, and offered to make a public apology to both Meghan and Prince Harry. He said he loved her but would not go to her wedding as he wanted to spare her from any further embarrassment.
Prince Harry sent him a message in response, saying he did not need to apologise, and that he should call them. Later that day, Mr Markle suffered chest pains and shortness of breath and was taken to hospital and diagnosed with suspected congestive heart failure.
The following day, the defence papers say that Mr Markle texted Meghan to say he was back in hospital, and she responded, asking him to call her.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after visiting Canada House in London, after their recent stay in Canada on January 7
Mr Markle had an emergency operation – an angioplasty to unblock two arteries to his heart.
The defence papers say that on that day, he texted Meghan to tell her about the surgery and said he could not attend the wedding because his doctors would not allow him to fly. He apologised for missing the wedding and said he loved her, and wished her the best, saying he had had surgery.
According to the defence papers, he sent a later message, asking who would walk her down the aisle to give her away, and said he would come if she really needed him. He apologised again for not being there. He told Meghan he loved her and wishes her the best.
In response, he received a text message which he believed was from Prince Harry, which he described as hurtful.
According to the legal documents lodged at the High Court yesterday, it was signed ‘Love M and H’ but did not ask about his emergency heart surgery, or even ask him how he felt. Instead, it accused him of ignoring some 20 phone calls from Meghan.
The court papers said of Thomas Markle: ‘He received a text response signed ‘Love M and H’, but which read as if it was from Prince Harry, (amongst other things) admonishing Mr Markle for talking to the Press and telling him to stop and accusing Mr Markle of causing hurt to his daughter.
A smiling Meghan was seen for the first time since leaving the country today boarding a sea plane in Vancouver Island, Canada
‘The text did not ask how the surgical procedure had gone or how Mr Markle was or send him good wishes.’ Mr Markle was said to be ‘deeply hurt’ by the tone of the message, and replied curtly.
According to the defence papers, he said: ‘I’ve done nothing to hurt you Meghan or anyone else I know nothing about 20 phone calls. I’m sorry my heart attack is … any inconvenience for you.’ The court papers allege he received no reply and that his daughter did not speak to him again in the final days before her wedding.
In the letter that Meghan later wrote to her father in August 2018, which was published in the Mail on Sunday last year, she wrote: ‘You’ve told the Press that you called me to say you weren’t coming to the wedding – that didn’t happen because you never called.’
She accused him of ignoring her attempts to contact him in the days before the marriage, saying: ‘From my phone alone, I called you over 20 times and you ignored my calls… leaving me in the days before our wedding worried, confused, shocked and absolutely blindsided.’
Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at the public walkabout at the Rotorua Government Gardens on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand
Kensington Palace issued a statement from Meghan, saying: ‘Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding.
‘I have always cared for my father and I hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.’
In a statement the following day, Kensington Palace said Meghan had asked Prince Charles to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. It made no reference to her father or his hospital treatment.
May 19 – day of the wedding
Meghan Markle married Prince Harry and formally became part of the Royal Family.
Her mother Doria was at her side and Prince Charles walked her down the aisle.
The defence papers lodged yesterday, said that Mr Markle had insisted he made multiple attempts to contact his daughter by phone call and by text message, but received no response.
When he tried to call, he said his calls were blocked and that he believed she had changed her number without telling him.
Mr Markle said he had no communication from Meghan at all until her letter in August, three months later. Apart from that single letter, the defence papers said he had not heard from his daughter since he told her he was too ill to attend her wedding. He had never been introduced to her husband Prince Harry, nor met his eight-month-old grandson Archie.
He continued to try to make contact, and texted her in November 2018, according to the defence papers. The message read: ‘I want to reach out to you or try to reach out to you one more time.
‘You apparently have just written me off and now it’s telling me I guess for the rest of my life?’ He has received no response, the legal papers said.