The devastating breakdown in Meghan Markle's relationship with her father was laid bare yesterday in a series of messages between the pair detailed by court papers.
He has handed over previously unseen messages and letters which set out how he made desperate attempts to mend their relationship after heart surgery forced him to miss her wedding.
In one message he accused Prince Harry of treating his heart attack as an 'inconvenience', adding: 'I've done nothing to hurt you, Meghan or anyone else.'
In another, he said that Meghan had effectively 'written me off'. The exchanges between Mr Markle and his daughter were detailed in documents filed to the High Court in London yesterday.
A young Meghan Markle with her father Thomas
The Duchess of Sussex has launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail's sister paper, accusing the newspaper of breaching her privacy and her copyright by publishing extracts of a five-page letter she wrote to her father in August 2018. In the letter, Meghan, 38, chastised her father for ignoring her calls and said he had 'broken her heart into a million pieces'.
Meghan's legal team has claimed she was 'shocked and deeply upset' when her 'private letter' to her father was published.
The documents lodged at the court yesterday detail the newspaper's defence to her allegations. They say Mr Markle, 75, has never met his eight-month-old grandson Archie, nor been introduced to Prince Harry, although they have spoken on the phone.
His only contact with his daughter since her wedding day was the August 2018 letter, in which she accused him of lying about her and inflicting 'unnecessary and unwarranted pain' on her and her new husband.
As part of the legal action, Mr Markle has agreed to appear as the newspaper's key witness, should the case go before a judge later this year.
He has handed over his own medical records and his correspondence with Meghan, which reveals how their relationship broke down in the final fortnight before her wedding.
Meghan and Prince Harry on their wedding day at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018
According to the messages detailed in the defence papers yesterday, Thomas Markle initially sent touching messages to his daughter, which spoke of his excitement about her upcoming wedding – before he told of his devastation when a heart attack forced him to abandon plans to walk her down the aisle. In the messages, he repeatedly told Meghan that he loved her.
But the messages made clear how their relationship began to break down after it was revealed that he had secretly agreed to stage a series of paparazzi-style pictures of himself preparing for the wedding.
In documents lodged at the High Court, defence lawyers said Meghan had shown a disregard for her father's wellbeing. They said that even after he explained his cardiac condition and that doctors said he couldn't fly, he was on the receiving end of an admonishment from Harry.
She did not make it clear that he was forced to abandon plans to attend her wedding because of his poor health, and she then ignored his repeated attempts to contact her after the wedding, they alleged.
Lawyers for the Mail on Sunday told the court: 'If the Claimant [the Duchess of Sussex] had been or was concerned about her father and his welfare, she would not have cut her father, a sick 75-year-old man, out of her life for the perceived sin of speaking to the Press about his daughter who had become a famous royal duchess.'
May 10, 2018
According to the defence papers, Mr Markle texted his daughter to say he had dropped off some flowers at her mother's house for Mother's Day. In a touching message, he told Meghan he was excited about trying on some shoes she had bought for him to wear to her wedding. She had also bought him a new suit.
He ended the text with a poignant message that it was 'past her bedtime' because of the time difference, adding: 'I love you.' He wrote: 'I look forward to trying on my shoes and see how we look thank you for getting it ready for me its [sic] probably past your bedtime so have a good night I love you Dad.'
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018
May 11 or 12
The news is about to break that Mr Markle had secretly agreed with a photographer to stage a series of paparazzi-style pictures – despite pleas from Prince Harry for the media to leave his future father-in-law alone. At the time, it was reported that CCTV had caught him posing in an internet café for photographs which showed him looking at a news story about his daughter's romance with the prince.
Kensington Palace had previously issued a warning to publishers to respect his privacy, saying he had been 'harassed' by paparazzi. A letter by Prince Harry's communications secretary Jason Knauf said he had been followed and urged editors not to publish pictures of him. But the Mail on Sunday revealed a series of photographs had been taken with his co-operation in March. Mr Markle, Meghan and Harry spoke on the phone before the story broke.