The disintegration of the Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with her father in the run-up to her wedding to Prince Harry has been revealed in a series of texts contained in legal documents.
The messages are part of the Mail Online and Mail on Sunday’s defence to legal action brought by the duchess for publishing a private letter she wrote to her father in August 2018.
Thomas Markle had been due to walk Meghan down the aisle but pulled out of the event citing the advice of doctors after he was admitted to hospital three weeks beforehand with chest pain.
But it was widely reported that the reclusive former TV lighting director was too embarrassed to attend after it emerged he had allegedly been paid to stage paparazzi photos.
In one shot, he apparently pretended to read an article about his daughter and Harry online in an internet cafe, while in another he appeared to be being measured for a suit.
In documents submitted to the High Court, Associated Newspapers Limited has published the final messages of Mr Markle to his daughter as proof that he tried to prevent their estrangement.
– Thursday May 10 2018: Mr Markle texted the duchess to say he had dropped off some flowers at her mother’s house for Mother’s Day.
He added: “I look forward to trying on my shoes and see how we look thank you for getting it ready for me its probably past your bedtime so have a good night I love you Dad.”
– Saturday May 12 2018: Mr Markle spoke to Prince Harry on the phone, warning him that the story of the staged paparazzi photos was about to break.
– Monday May 14 2018: The duchess’s father wrote to Meghan saying he was sorry and that he would not be attending the wedding to “spare her any further embarrassment”.
In response, Mr Markle received a text from Harry saying he did not need to apologise and he should call.
– Tuesday May 15 2018: Mr Markle texted his daughter to say he was “back in the hospital” having been admitted late the previous evening with suspected heart failure.
– Wednesday May 16 2018: He texted his daughter to say he had undergone emergency heart surgery, and claims all he received in response was a text purportedly from “M and H” but which he believes was from Harry.
He claims the prince admonished him for talking to the press and also accused him (Mr Markle) of causing hurt to his daughter.
Mr Markle replied: “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.”
After the message telling her he was too ill to attend the wedding, Mr Markle claims the duchess did not speak to him again at any time before the wedding.
Following the wedding, Mr Markle said he tried to contact the duchess by phone and text and received no response until receiving the letter in late August 2018.
Mr Markle sent the duchess a text on November 25 2018 saying: “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 text messages are being used to refute claims made by Meghan’s friends in an interview with US-based People magazine that Mr Markle “never called … never texted”.
Meghan’s action against Associated Newspapers Limited alleges the publication of the letter amounts to misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.