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The Duchess of Sussex will claim her father was manipulated into giving interviews with UK newspapers and that he later called them “lies and bulls***”, according to court documents.
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, which owns the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline, after the papers published excerpts of a personal letter she wrote to her father.
Her father, Thomas Markle, came under criticism before Harry and Meghan’s wedding for staging paparazzi photos of him near his home in Mexico.
Although he was meant to walk his daughter down the aisle when she got married, he ended up unable to travel to the UK for the big day due to ill health.
The Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline ran details of the letter the duchess wrote under the headline “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”
Court documents released on Monday revealed a series of text messages sent from Meghan, 38, and her husband, Prince Harry, as they tried to get in touch with him in the days before their wedding.
They also reveal that Markle, 75, called stories on the MailOnline “lies and bulls***”.
The MailOnline piece referenced was written in July 2018, and claimed to come after a nine hour interview with the new royal’s father, in which he said she had cut him off.
In a letter written by Markle to his daughter, he said: “The next day [Peter Sheridan] announced and bragged that he got a 9 hour interview. He said a few things I said in confidence, but 85% were lies and bulls***!
“I called him and told him he was a thief, a liar and a coward and I would GET EVEN! ….
“I didn’t want or intend to give him an interview and I certainly would not do 9 hours for free!….
“When I was asked if I tried to borrow money from you, three days before the wedding? I said, ‘no I did not, but I know she would have helped me if I would have asked.’
“I made a comment about Tom Jr not paying me back, ‘not one red cent’, and they changed it to Meghan’s dad complaining that his kids won’t pay him back one red cent!! That comment came from Peter Sheridan’s 9 hour interview....
“I never said anything about your grandma, never!! I know you took care of her, I don’t know where that comes from? I appreciate that you have always been concerned for my health and you were trying to get me help.”
The duchess will use this as evidence that the Mail On Sunday’s claim they had to run her letter for Markle to “set the record straight” was only because of a dispute they had started.
Papers filed for the Duchess of Sussex say: “In revealing the detailed contents of this letter, the UK media publisher was simply seeking to ‘set the record straight’ on behalf of the author’s father as to a “dispute” which had arisen as to the correct version of events surrounding their relationship (as opposed to self- serving commercial interest), when in fact it was the same publisher which had first harassed and humiliated the author’s father (despite him trying to avoid the limelight), had then exposed him to the world as a “Royal scammer” for staging ‘fake’ paparazzo photographs (in order, he claimed, to counteract the humiliation of him in the UK press) and had finally manipulated this vulnerable man into giving interviews, which he later described as “lies and bulls***”, thereby causing the very “dispute” which they claim justified the publication of this letter, as well substantial damage to his relationship with his daughter.”
Meghan will also deny that she orchestrated an interview with her friends in People magazine, which made reference to the letter she had written to her father.
Documents state she did not know about the interview, which Markle said was the only reason he released the letter.
Court papers emerged on the same day Harry and Meghan announced they would be cutting ties with four UK tabloid publications, including the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Express.
It includes the websites for each publication, and means the couple’s communication team will not engage with anyone from those newspapers.
The documents have also revealed the number of times the couple tried to get in touch with Markle, sending him several messages and urging him to call them.
Harry, 35, also told his father-in-law to be not to “go to the press”.
The couple say they heard Markle was unwell because he put a statement out through TMZ.
A text from the prince to Markle on 14 May 2018 read: “U do not need to apologize [sic], we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse.
“If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don’t involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation.
“So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks.
“Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.”
They offered to send him security to help but he refused.
Meghan’s relationship with her father has been portrayed as fractured in the years she has been in the public eye as a royal.
She claimed in papers that the letter she sent was clearly private because it contained her “deepest and most personal thoughts” about Markle’s health.
Associated Newspapers deny allegations the letter was edited and said: “The contents of the letter were not private or confidential, self-evidently or at all.”
A Mail on Sunday spokesman said: “As we have said before, we will be defending this case with the utmost vigour. There is nothing in this document which changes that position.”