Prince Harry pleaded with his soon-to-be father-in-law Thomas Markle to stop speaking to the press shortly before he and Meghan married in 2018, according to documents filed in the UK high court.
The documents filed on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex show that Prince Harry made the comments in a series of text messages to Thomas Markle on May 14, 2018 — not long after Markle confirmed he wouldn’t be attending the wedding in Windsor on May 19.
Harry also told him the couple weren’t angry at him for pulling out of attending their wedding, the documents show.
In a series of messages sent on May 14, 2018 Prince Harry said: “Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize, 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,” he wrote.
The details of the text messages have been released as part of legal action the Duchess of Sussex is taking against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement after the newspaper published excerpts of a handwritten letter from Meghan to her father, sent shortly after she and Prince Harry got married.
According to that publication, Meghan had complained to her father that he had ignored many of her attempts to make contact, telling him his actions had “broken my heart into a million pieces.”
The original article in the Mail on Sunday also included claims from Thomas Markle that he had reached out “multiple times” in an attempt to patch things up.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the Duchess say the texts have been included to set out the “full exchanges” in messages between Meghan and her father in the lead up to the wedding, rather than relying on the defendant’s “highly partial summary of them.”
The reply brief also details the text messages Prince Harry sent Thomas Markle.
In another message, Harry 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.”
Rather than reply to Prince Harry, the court documents allege that Thomas Markle issued a statement through celebrity news website TMZ announcing he had gone to hospital after suffering a heart attack.
A day later, on May 15, 2018, Meghan texted her father to say: “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?”
According to the documents, she texted again 10 minutes later to say that she and Prince Harry had dispatched a security team to look after him, but it was refused.
In the reply brief filed in court, lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex say Meghan’s phone received a missed call at 4:57 a.m. on May 19, 2018 (the morning of her wedding) but did not receive any text messages or further missed calls from Thomas Markle at any point afterwards.
Harry and Meghan married later that day in Windsor, England.
The Mail on Sunday and parent company Associated Newspapers has previously said it stands by the original story it published and will defend the case vigorously.
The company will argue that there was “huge and legitimate” public interest in members of the royal family and their “personal relationships.”
In her reply brief, the Duchess of Sussex states that any claims of freedom of expression by the defendant to publish the contents of the letter are outweighed by her expectation of privacy.
A hearing in relation to the case is due to take place this Friday.