Prince Harry told his wife Meghan Markle’s father “only we can help you” in text messages which have emerged because of a High Court battle.
Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, which owns the Mail On Sunday, after it and the MailOnline published extracts of a personal letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle.
Now the Duchess of Sussex has filed paperwork to the High Court, including a series of text messages in which her then-fiance Harry pleaded with Mr Markle to reply to them before their wedding.
The couple claim they only found out he was ill because he released a statement to celebrity website TMZ after suffering a heart attack.
Court documents seen by Press Association show texts sent on 14 May, 2018 after calls to Mr Markle, 75, went unanswered, Harry wrote: “Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u.
“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.”
Mr Markle had a heart attack in May 2018 which prevented him attending the couple’s wedding.
He was meant to be walking Meghan, 38, down the aisle, but the role was instead taken by Prince Charles, after she walked down alone through part of the church.
The documents go on to include a text to her father on 15 May, 2018, in which Meghan wrote: “I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts.
“Very concerned about your health and safety and have taken every measure to protect you but not sure what more we can do if you don’t respond.
“Do you need help? Can we send the security team down again? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in the hospital but need you to please get in touch with us … What hospital are you at?”
The duchess sent another text about 10 minutes later, saying: “Harry and I made a decision earlier today and are dispatching the same security guys you turned away this weekend to be a presence on the ground to make sure you’re safe … they will be there at your disposal as soon as you need them.
“Please, please call as soon as you can.. all of this is incredibly concerning but your health is most important.”
When Mr Markle responded, he said he would be in hospital for a few days and refused the offer of security.
Harry, 35, sent details of the security team to Meghan’s father using her phone.
David Sherborne, the lawyer representing Meghan in her claim against the publisher, said in the documents: “The claimant’s husband pleaded with Mr Markle to let them help him.
“While Mr Markle responded later that evening to say that he appreciated the offer but did not feel in danger and would instead recover at a motel, the claimant responded 10 minutes later to make a further request for the hospital details so that she would know where he was.
“The claimant will refer to the fact that the defendant’s description of this exchange intentionally omits any reference to the claimant or her husband attempting to protect Mr Markle and ensure that he was safe.”
It was 16 May 2018 when Mr Markle had emergency heart surgery and texted his daughter to let her know he would not be able to attend her wedding.
In defence documents filed by Associated Newspapers, Mr Markle claims Meghan did not ask him about how he was doing after his surgery.
The document states: “He told the claimant he loved her and wished her the best.
“He sent a follow-up message asking who would ‘be giving [her] away?’ and saying that if she really needed him he would come, and that he was sorry ‘about all this’.
“In response, 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.
“The text did not ask how the surgical procedure had gone or how Mr Markle was or send him good wishes.
“Mr Markle was deeply hurt and responded with a curt message: ‘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 there any inconvenience for you’, and a couple more short messages.”
Sherbourne says the duchess does not believe the message came from her father, as opposed to someone pretending to be him, and they tried to call him several times after receiving the text, but he did not answer.
Sherborne continues: “As a result of this, and the unpleasant nature of the message she received on May 16, the claimant called Mr Markle a further four times within five minutes of the message being sent, but he declined to pick up.
“Her husband even texted Mr Markle from the claimant’s phone to say: ‘Tom, it’s Harry, please answer your phone. I need to know this is actually you because it doesn’t sound like you at all.’ No response was received.”
Sherborne said it is “admitted and averred” that, following the “unpleasant message”, which Meghan was unsure came from her father, and his failure to respond to calls and messages from the couple, the duchess did not speak to her father before her wedding on 19 May, 2018.
Meghan denies any further contact from her father and did not receive a text message from him in November 2018, which – according to Associated Newspapers’ defence – 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?”
The duchess is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.
Associated Newspapers wholly denies the allegations – particularly the claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning – and says it will hotly contest the case.
Yahoo UK has contacted the Mail On Sunday for comment.
The messages have emerged as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex informed four UK tabloid papers they would not be working with them again.
The couple told the editors of The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror that they and their communications team, would no longer co-operate with them.