Meghan Markle has outlined the latest in her case against the British newspaper that published excerpts from a letter she wrote to her father.
The next stage in her case against the Mail on Sunday opens in the U.K. on Friday. But early on Monday morning, the Duchess of Sussex’s legal team lodged papers as a response to the paper’s defense, which was filed in January.
Meghan, 38, is suing publishers Associated Newspapers and the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of what she describes as a “private and confidential” letter sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018 — three months after her wedding to Prince Harry.
The Mail on Sunday says that Thomas revealed the contents of the letter after a friend had told PEOPLE of its existence. Meghan’s new statement says she did not authorize her friends to speak to PEOPLE. The legal papers add that if she had authorized the interviews, she would have told her friends not to talk about the letter and its contents.
The new legal papers outline the extent to which she and Harry messaged and called Thomas to reach out to him after he fell ill in the days before the wedding on May 19, 2018. He was admitted to hospital with “acute chest pain” on May 3, 2018, the papers confirm.
“I’ve called and texted but haven’t heard back from you so hoping you’re okay,” Meghan messaged, as revealed in the new court documents. On May 6, Meghan and Harry learned that Thomas — who was “harassed and humiliated” by the Mail on Sunday, according to Meghan’s legal team — had posed for paparazzi photos.
Meghan, the papers say, tried to arrange “logistics and supplies for her father discretely and with privacy, with care taken not to feed the press; that she is trying to protect her father from heightened press intrusion and scrutiny and that he should keep a low profile until the wedding.”
Then on May 14, Thomas said he would not be able to attend the wedding. After calling him for around a half hour, Harry then texted, according to the court papers. The documents include these texts from Harry:
“Tom, it’s Harry and I’m going to call you right now. Please pick up, thank you” / “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” / “Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1”.
When Thomas told TMZ that he had suffered a heart attack, it was the first that Meghan knew of it, according to the new court papers. When her father texted, Meghan texted back on May 15, the papers show.
“I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts…,” Meghan wrote, according to the texts in the court papers. “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?”
“Harry and I made a decision earlier today and are dispatching the same security guys you turned away this weekend to be a presence on the ground to make sure you’re safe… they will be there at your disposal as soon as you need them. Please please call as soon as you can… all of this is incredibly concerning but your health is most important.”
The new legal filings followed Meghan and Harry’s announcement on Sunday evening that they and their representatives will not deal with four U.K. outlets, announcing “there will be no corroboration and zero engagement” in a letter to the editors on Sunday night.
The Duke and Duchess, who moved to Los Angeles with their son Archie in March, say they fundamentally disagree with the “style of reporting” of four tabloids —The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Express — which they say have “pulled apart” the lives of many individuals.