Meghan Markle calls father Thomas a liar, says she didn't know friends would speak of her relationship with him
The former 'Suits' actress said that she was unaware of the fact that five of her closest friends were planning on giving interviews
Meghan Markle branded her estranged father, Thomas Markle, a liar and denied having any advance knowledge of some of her closest friends going on record on an American tabloid to discuss her deteriorating relationship with her dad.
According to court papers filed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex against the Associated Newspapers in London High Court, the former 'Suits' actress said that she was unaware of the fact that five of her closest friends were planning on weighing in the then-ongoing public debate about her almost non-existent relationship with her father by giving interviews to People magazine for an article published in February 2019, Daily Mail reported.
The new documents were filed by the couple at the Royal Courts of Justice for the High Court hearing, scheduled to take place on Friday, April 24. An excerpt from a letter sent by Meghan to her father, complaining of his mistreatment of her, was published by Mail on Sunday, which led to the lawsuit last year over alleged invasion of privacy, breach of copyright and misuse of personal data.
The article which quoted her friends describing Meghan's relationship, or lack of one, with her father, also summarized the letter sent by the Duchess and portion of Thomas' reply to her daughter — an act that was deemed to have taken private conversations between Meghan and Thomas out of context and made a public spectacle out of it.
"It is admitted that People magazine, a US title, published articles based on interviews given by five unnamed friends of the Claimant in its 18 February 2019 hard copy and online edition and that these interviews contained the text quoted therein. It is further admitted that in the course of these lengthy articles, a brief and passing reference was made to the Letter (as well as the response from the Claimant's [Duchess of Sussex] father [Thomas Markle]," the lawsuit said.
It added: "This reference was neither the main focus nor any substantial part of the articles. Further, it did not contain the detailed contents of the letter and insofar as it purported to summarise the letter and the Claimant's [Duchess of Sussex] purpose in sending it was completely wrong."
Although the mother-of-one claimed that her friends had her best interests at heart at the time as they only wanted to help her by getting the truth out in the middle of a media storm that a heavily pregnant Meghan was facing back in London, she swore in the court papers that she did not have any faintest inkling that her friends were planning to give interviews and only found out when they visited her in England.
"As she later discovered, following visits to see her in London at the beginning of 2019, some of her close friends became extremely concerned at the aggressive attacks upon her in the media and the palpable and profound impact which this was having upon her, especially as she was vulnerable as well as heavily pregnant at the time," the documents stated.
It added: "As a result, one of her closest friends decided that they should help by arranging to give anonymous interviews to this American magazine whose Editor was a very good friend of hers in which they might explain what the Claimant [Duchess of Sussex] was truly like."
Cracks in the relationship between Meghan and her father grew wider when he was accused of colluding with the paparazzi to stage photos ahead of his daughter's royal wedding at the Windsor Castle to then-Prince Harry. Although the court documents filed by the Duchess confirmed the fact that her father had contacted her on May 14, 2018 — five days ahead of her wedding date — to apologize for his conduct and to state that he will not be attending her wedding to walk her down the aisle, Meghan also claimed that her father had not been entirely truthful about what led him to stage the photos.
"Mr Markle did not answer truthfully when asked about the photographs taken and staged by a paparazzo photographer... Despite discovering that he had not told her the truth, with all the distress this caused her, the Claimant [Duchess of Sussex] was still focused on finding a way for him to travel to London safely [for her wedding], and the Claimant [Duchess of Sussex] tried to reassure her father that there was no ill-feeling between them," the papers said.
What followed was Harry and Meghan reaching out to Thomas, assuring him that there was no need to apologize and urging him not to contact the press and return their phone calls instead. The estranged father, however, took a different route and issued a statement to TMZ saying that he was undergoing heart surgery — information that his daughter claimed she learned from the tabloid.
However, the defense documents filed by Associated Newspapers states that it was not the case and that Thomas did text Meghan on the day of his operation.
"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," the papers claimed.