Duchess of Sussex only ever sent me modest gifts, claims Thomas Markle

By Tess de la Mare, PA

The Duchess of Sussex’s father has claimed he paid tens of thousands for his daughter’s private school fees, university tuition and was paying off her student loan even after her career as an actress took off.

Thomas Markle said Meghan sent him only occasional “modest” financial gifts after landing a role in the hit TV series Suits, even though he was still paying off her college debts.

The claims form part of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online’s defence to legal action brought by the duchess against the newspaper for publishing a private letter she sent to her father in August 2018.

In documents submitted to the High Court, Mr Markle denies ever accusing Meghan of failing to help him financially, saying her “modest” cash gifts were “greatly appreciated”.

In her letter, Meghan apparently accuses her father of telling the press “you’ve never helped me financially and you’ve never asked me for help”, calling the claims “untrue”.

Listing the financial assistance Mr Markle claims to have given his daughter over the years, the documents state: “Mr Markle had supported the claimant throughout her childhood and youth.

“He had paid her private school fees. He had paid all her college tuition and after she left Northwestern University he continued to pay off her student loans even after she had landed a well-paid role in suits.”

It continues: “She did send him financial gifts occasionally, although he was still repaying her student loans, as stated above.”

Mr Markle said he continued to support Meghan when she returned to LA to look for acting jobs and he sold 20,000 dollars (£15,378) worth of Facebook shares to fund her first wedding to producer Trevor Engelson in 2011.

The documents state: “However, since May 2018 (Meghan) has not supported him in any way, despite the fact that, as she knows, he has been ill and therefore has medical expenses, not all of which are covered by his insurance.”

The duchess’s case against Associated Newspapers Limited – the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online’s parent company – alleges the publication of the letter amounts to misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.

In its defence statement, the company said the duchess’s decision not to assist her father was “deserving of criticism”.

It said Meghan had done nothing to support her father since May 2017 – a year before her wedding to Prince Harry.

It said: “In light of the claimant’s very considerable means and resources, reasonable people may well take the view of her failure to support him in any way, financially or emotionally, since May 2017, is deserving of criticism.

“That view is not an allegation that is verifiably false.”

No date has been set as yet for the court hearing.