Court papers reveal new details about Meghan Markle’s concern for her father and attempts at getting in touch with him before the May 2018 royal wedding, firing back at published British tabloid reports that claimed otherwise, court papers show.
Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife to Prince Harry, is just days away from her hearing for her case against The Mail on Sunday’s publisher, Associated Newspapers, which is scheduled for Friday in London court.
The news was first reported by Harper’s Bazaar’s royal editor, Omid Scobie.
Markle is suing for invasion of privacy over a 2018 article that included portions of a letter she had written to her father, Thomas Markle. Associated Newspapers denies infringing on Meghan’s privacy.
Thomas Markle was scheduled to walk his daughter down the aisle at the wedding, but pulled out at the last minute, citing heart problems.
On Monday, Meghan Markle, through attorneys, released a series of text messages that she and Harry sent to her father in the days approaching their royal wedding. One of the messages shows Harry apparently trying to smooth over a family embarrassment after a Mail on Sunday story revealed that the prince’s future father-in-law helped stage paparazzi pictures of himself preparing for the wedding.
“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,” Harry texted on May 15.
“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,” he wrote. “Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.”
The elder Markle did not respond, but later provided a statement to TMZ revealing he had been admitted to the hospital after suffering a heart attack.
Meghan Markle also tried to reach out to her father herself, the 33-page court document shows.
“I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts…” she texted her father on May 15. “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?”
Roughly 10 minutes later, she sent him another message.
“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,” her message states, according to Harper’s Bazaar. “Please please call as soon as you can.. all of this is incredibly concerning but your health is most important.”
Thomas Markle refused the offer of security, but said he was OK, according to the legal filing.
Meghan said her phone received a missed call at 4.57 a.m. on the morning of her wedding and that she did not speak with him again except in writing.
Thomas Markle, a former television lighting director has given occasional interviews to the media, and complained in December 2018 that he’d been “ghosted” by Meghan after the wedding.
In October 2019, Harry explained in an announcement on the Sussexes' website why they chose to take legal action.
"Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son," he wrote. "Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations - something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis."
Harry has long had an uncomfortable relationship with the media, which he blames for the death of his mother, Princess Diana. She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.
On Sunday, the couple, who have since stepped away from their lives as senior royals and are now spending their time in Los Angeles, California, sent letters to a number of British tabloids saying they will no longer cooperate because of what they call “distorted, false or invasive” stories.
They, through lawyers, wrote to the editors of The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror saying they will not “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion.” They say stories based on “salacious gossip” have upended the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.