Prince Harry told Thomas Markle speaking to press would ‘backfire’ days before royal wedding, court documents reveal

‘If u love Meg and want to make it right please call me,’ one text reads

Olivia Petter,Sarah Young
Friday 24 April 2020 08:19 BST
Harry and Meghan end co-operation with tabloid press

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were sending text messages to Thomas Markle in the days before their wedding in May 2018, new court documents have revealed.

The revelations have emerged ahead of a hearing on Friday between Meghan and Associated Newspapers with regards to the publication of a letter sent by the Duchess to her father in August 2018.

The court documents disclose text messages sent on 14 May in which Harry urged Mr Markle not to speak to the press after he had already staged a series of paparazzi photographs.

The texts were sent shortly before Mr Markle suffered a heart attack, meaning he was unable to attend the royal wedding.

Mr Markle had been expected to walk his daughter down the aisle.

“Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u [sic],” the message reads.

“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 [sic]”.

Harry added that speaking to the press “will backfire”.

“Trust me Tom,” he added. “Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1 [sic].”

The court documents state that Mr Markle did not respond to Harry’s messages and instead issued a public statement through TMZ revealing he had suffered a heart attack. The documents claim this was how Meghan discovered her father had been hospitalised.

The documents state that Meghan then sent text messages to her father.

“I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts,” she wrote.

“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.” Mr Markle replied and said he was ok.

The court documents reveal that Meghan also wrote, in a text to her father on May 5 2018: “I've called and texted but haven't heard back from you so hoping you're okay.”

She then sent another message the following day, after learning her father had staged photographs for a photographer, explaining that she had attempted to arrange “logistics and supplies” for her father “with care taken not to feed the press”, the documents state.

The duchess also told her father she was trying to protect him from heightened press intrusion and scrutiny and that he should keep a low profile until the wedding.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after their wedding
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after their wedding (PA)

Barrister David Sherborne, who is representing Meghan in the case, said in the documents: “The claimant’s husband pleaded with Mr Markle to let them help him.”

The documents also state that the duchess received an “unpleasant message” from her father’s phone number and was not sure whether or not it came from him.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers, which owns The Mail on Sunday, for publishing parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father.

The Duchess’s legal team state that the letter was “obviously private correspondence” and detailed “her intimate thoughts and feelings about her father’s health and her relationship with him at that time”.

She is seeking damages for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

Harry and Meghan end co-operation with tabloid press

Lawyers for Associated Newspapers have said: ”The contents of the letter were not private or confidential, self-evidently or at all.”

Mr Markle has previously told the Mail on Sunday that he only released parts of Meghan’s letter “because other parts were so painful”.

The revelations in the court documents come after Harry and Meghan announced they would no longer co-operate with the UK’s tabloid media.

On Monday, the couple, who officially stepped down from the royal family last month, said they would be enforcing a policy of “zero engagement” with four British publications – The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express – meaning representatives for the couple will no longer respond to requests from those titles.

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