The Duchess of Sussex and her father have given conflicting reports about the impact of the letter she sent him in the months after the Royal Wedding. The contradictory claims have been made in the most recent High Court hearing in Meghan’s legal action against the Mail on Sunday, which published the letter after being contacted by Thomas Markle. The Duchess is suing the newspaper for breach of privacy and copyright. Meghan’s lawyers have claimed that her final sentence in the letter – which the Mail on Sunday chose not to publish – showed that she was seeking “a message of peace”.
She wrote: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.” Her legal team insist that her intention was merely to repair the rift which had so dramatically developed between Meghan and her father after he was unable to attend the Royal Wedding in May 2018.
But in a witness statement released today by the court, it is revealed that Thomas Markle saw Meghan’s intentions very differently. He said that he “wanted to correct that misrepresentation” of Meghan’s letter in an earlier article in People magazine which Mr Markle says was a “total lie” and did not represent “the tone and the content of the letter Meg had written me in August 2018”.
The content of the People article, claims Mr Markle in the statement, “caused me to change my mind” over whether to “talk publicly about Meg’s letter to me”. He then tears into his own daughter for what she wrote in the letter. “The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation. It was a criticism of me. The letter didn't say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was.
"It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health.
ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship explains what happened in court
"It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation.” He also wrote that claims by Meghan’s friends in the People magazine article that she took care of her father with “such incredible generosity” was also false. Mr Markle said: “That was wrong and unfair. It made it sound as though Meg had been supporting me, which was untrue.”
Mr Markle is supporting the defendant, the Mail on Sunday’s publishers Associated Newspapers, in this case. If the judge does rule that this privacy case should proceed to a full trial, Thomas Markle is likely to be called as a witness to testify against his own daughter.
These court papers expose how low their relationship has sunk. And that is a very sad state of affairs, no matter where you stand on the rights of the Mail on Sunday to publish Meghan’s personal letter.