Meghan Markle's letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, was written amid "great personal anguish," according to legal documents filed by the Duchess of Sussex's lawyers in the lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday's owners. Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Markle sued the company for publishing the letter "unlawfully" when it was meant to be a private message to her father. In the new documents, Markle's team called the letter "private and confidential."
The new documents, obtained by the U.K. Press Association, her attorneys said the letter was "obviously private correspondence" that detailed "her intimate thoughts and feelings about her father’s health and her relationship with him at that time." They also accused the Mail's publishers of choosing to "deliberately omit or suppress" parts of the letter and claimed they "intentionally distorted or manipulated" its meaning. They also accuse the publishers of not warning her about its publication.
"The claimant intended the detailed contents of the letter to be private, and certainly did not expect them to be published to the world at large by a national newspaper, and without any warning," the papers read.
If the letter was published in full, it would have "undermined the defendant’s intended negative characterisation of the claimant," Markle's lawyers claim.
Part of the Mail's original report included "expert handwriting analysis," which the lawyers say was " used to make derogatory allegations about the claimant’s character in order to lend support to the defendant’s pre-conceived narrative for the articles and the attack upon the claimant."
The attorneys continue, "For example, the defendant labelled the claimant a ‘showman and a narcissist’ based solely on her handwriting style. Such actions evidence the defendant’s clear malicious intent in publishing the letter."
Back in February, the Daily Mail published excerpts of the letter, which was dated August 2018. In one part of the letter, Markle wrote to her father, "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces — not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand."
Markle listed Associated Newspapers Ltd., the publishers of the Daily Mail, as the defendants in the case. She is seeking damages for allegedly misusing private information, copyright infringement and violating the Data Protection Act. The publishers have denied the allegations and insisted the letter was not edited.
After news of the lawsuit broke, Thomas spoke with the Daily Mail again, revealing that he decided to release the letter in response to articles about Markle in PEOPLE.
"I decided to release parts of the letter because of the article from Meghan’s friends in PEOPLE magazine," Thomas said. "I have to defend myself. I only released parts of the letter because other parts were so painful. The letter didn’t seem loving to me. I found it hurtful."
However, he also told the Mail he thought the letter was " presented in a way that vilified me and wasn’t true. It was presented as her reaching out and writing a loving letter in the hope of healing the rift, but the letter isn’t like that at all. I have the right to defend myself."
While the lawsuit is ongoing, Markle gave her first interview since welcoming son Archie. She told ITV's Tom Bradby it has been difficult living under increased scrutiny as a member of the royal family.0comments
"Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot," Markle said in the interview, recorded during the couple's recent trip to Africa. "So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. It’s um…yeah. I guess, also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m okay, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
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