Her fa­ther set to be star wit­ness against her in High Court show­down Dev­as­tat­ing texts ex­pose their bit­ter war of words over wed­ding

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Vanessa Allen and Sam Green­hill

THOMAS Markle is pre­pared to give ev­i­dence against his own daugh­ter in an ex­tra­or­di­nary le­gal case, it was re­vealed yes­ter­day.

The es­tranged fa­ther of the Duchess of Sus­sex is ex­pected to be called as a key wit­ness for the de­fence in a court case she has brought against a news­pa­per.

Mr Markle, 75, has given lawyers pre­vi­ously un­seen text mes­sages sent in the build-up to Meghan’s wed­ding to Prince Harry that re­veal the break­down of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween fa­ther and daugh­ter.

Some of the mes­sages were de­tailed yes­ter­day in de­fence pa­pers filed at the High Court in Lon­don. The doc­u­ments say that af­ter Mr Markle mes­saged

his daugh­ter say­ing he couldn’t come to her wed­ding be­cause he had been rushed to hos­pi­tal for emer­gency heart surgery and told not to fly on health grounds, he re­ceived a text that ap­peared to be from Prince Harry.

The mes­sage ad­mon­ished him, ac­cused him of caus­ing hurt to his daugh­ter and did not ask about his health. It left Mr Markle ‘deeply hurt’.

In re­turn, Mr Markle wrote: ‘I’ve done noth­ing to hurt you Meghan or any­one else … I’m sorry my heart at­tack is … any in­con­ve­nience for you.’

The Duchess of Sus­sex launched le­gal ac­tion against the Mail on Sun­day last year af­ter it pub­lished ex­tracts of a let­ter she wrote to her fa­ther in Au­gust 2018.

Meghan, 38, has ac­cused the news­pa­per – the sis­ter pa­per of the Daily Mail – of breach­ing her pri­vacy, her data pro­tec­tion rights and her copy­right when it pub­lished ex­tracts.

The MoS filed its de­fence to her case at the High Court in Lon­don yes­ter­day. It de­nied her claims and ar­gued there was a ‘huge and le­git­i­mate pub­lic in­ter­est’ in the Royal Fam­ily, in­clud­ing its ‘per­sonal and fam­ily re­la­tion­ships’. The de­fence pa­pers also said: Thomas Markle only re­leased Meg­mate

‘Le­git­i­mate pub­lic in­ter­est’

han’s let­ter to the world to show it was not the ‘lov­ing’ plea her friends had been making out;

He had kept her hand­writ­ten note pri­vate for months, and only re­vealed it to ex­pose ‘false’ claims that the duchess had been reach­ing out to re­pair their re­la­tion­ship;

He only de­cided to re­lease ex­tracts to the Press af­ter she had al­lowed her friends to talk about the let­ter first in the US mag­a­zine Peo­ple;

That one of Meghan’s best friends, Jes­sica Mul­roney, once in­ter­vened to try to fix a ‘favourable’ ar­ti­cle for her;

Mr Markle had in­sisted he made mul­ti­ple at­tempts to con­tact his daugh­ter by phone call and by text mes­sage, but re­ceived no re­sponse;

That apart from the Au­gust 2018 let­ter, Mr Markle had not heard from his daugh­ter since he told her he was too ill to at­tend her wed­ding. He had never been in­tro­duced to her hus­band Prince Harry, nor met his grand­son Archie.

The de­vel­op­ment fol­lows Mon­day’s San­dring­ham sum­mit, which saw the Queen hold cri­sis talks about Meghan and Harry’s role in the Royal Fam­ily af­ter they an­nounced their wish to step back from their royal du­ties.

The duchess was last night pic­tured in Canada for the first time since she re­turned there fol­low­ing the bomb­shell ‘Megxit’ state­ment. She was seen board­ing a sea plane from Van­cou­ver Is­land which ap­peared to be des­tined for Whistler ski re­sort.

Meghan launched her le­gal ac­tion against the MoS last year af­ter it pub­lished ex­cerpts of her let­ter to her fa­ther. Mr Markle gave the let­ter to the news­pa­per af­ter un­named friends of the duchess told the Peo­ple mag­a­zine that she had writ­ten the ‘lov­ing’ let­ter in an at­tempt to re­pair their re­la­tion­ship.

Lawyers for the news­pa­per al­leged that Meghan had ‘ know­ingly’ al­lowed her friends to leak de­tails of the let­ter to the mag­a­zine – ef­fec­tively that she had helped to breach her own pri­vacy.

Stress­ing that the Royal Fam­ily were pub­lic fig­ures sup­ported ‘largely by pub­lic funds’, the news­pa­per said: ‘There is a huge and le­giti

pub­lic in­ter­est in the Royal Fam­ily and ac­tiv­i­ties, con­duct and stan­dards of be­hav­iour of its mem­bers.

‘This ex­tends not merely to their pub­lic con­duct, but to their per­sonal and fam­ily re­la­tion­ships be­cause those are in­te­gral to the proper func­tion­ing of the monar­chy.’

If the case goes be­fore a judge, the pa­per said it would ask for Meghan to be forced to hand over all com­mu­ni­ca­tions in which she had ‘ caused or per­mit­ted her friends to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about her to the me­dia or to seek to in­flu­ence what is pub­lished about her’.

It could lead to the prospect of Meghan com­ing face to face with her fa­ther in the High Court.

Mr Markle, a re­tired Hol­ly­wood light­ing di­rec­tor who lives in Rosar­ito, Mexico, has said his daugh­ter cut off all con­tact with him af­ter her wed­ding, ex­cept for the let­ter at the cen­tre of the case.

If he were to be called as a wit­ness, he would ef­fec­tively have to brand his own daugh­ter a liar who had in­vaded her own pri­vacy. The Sus­sexes have said they will fund the le­gal pro­ceed­ings pri­vately.

Mov­ing on: The plane Meghan boarded yes­ter­day

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