Prince Harry sent a strongly worded, late-night text to Meghan Markle’s father Thomas just days before their 2018 wedding, upsetting Thomas as he lay alone in a hospital bed recovering from heart surgery, London’s Court of Appeal heard today.
Although the actual text itself was not read out in court, a lawyer acting for the publishers of the Daily Mail newspaper described it as being “a text in quite strong terms from Prince Harry,” and invited the presiding judge and other lawyers to read it for themselves in court papers.
A silence descended on the courtroom as those present turned their eyes toward the paperwork and read the text, after which the newspaper’s lawyer said, “It’s obvious Mr. Markle was upset by that text... He’s on his own in hospital having had a heart procedure.”
It was noted in court that the text was incorrectly described in the accompanying paperwork as having been sent by Meghan, but that it was in fact sent by Harry.
The dramatic moment came toward the end of the first session of a three-day hearing in the Court of Appeal, which saw Associated Newspapers Ltd. (ANL) make opening moves in its attempt to overturn Meghan Markle’s victory against them this year in the long-running legal dispute.
Meghan sued the publisher for invasion of privacy and copyright violation after it published extensive extracts of a hand-written letter to her father. Meghan won the case via a summary judgment this year, which meant the case did not go to full trial. But ANL is appealing, arguing that the decision was flawed, and that the case should be fully tried in a court of law.
As part of their opening salvo Tuesday, ANL lawyer Andrew Caldecott told the court that he had “new evidence” that would show as “false” Meghan’s claim “that the letter was crafted as an intimate communication for her father’s eyes only.”
Caldecott claimed: “The letter was crafted specifically with the potential of public consumption in mind because the claimant appreciated Mr Markle might disclose it to the media.”
The judge frequently and sometimes testily reminded Caldecott to avoid talking about “satellite issues” and focus on the exact grounds of appeal.
However he allowed Caldecott to run through a “critical” series of texts sent in the days before the wedding, which, he said, showed there was “abundant contact” between Thomas Markle and the couple. This contradicted “very hurtful” claims made by Meghan’s friends in an interview with People magazine that Thomas was “ignoring” his daughter in those critical days, he said, adding, “This is why the texts matter.”
Harry’s text was apparently sent in response to one from Thomas sent at 03:24 London time that read, “Who will be giving you away? If you really need me I will come. Sorry about all this.”
Caldecott said the previous judgment had not given sufficient weight to the texts.
The hearing is due to resume Wednesday.