Duchess of Sussex’s estranged father shared letter to ‘defend’ himself

The estranged father of the Duchess of Sussex says he did not intend to share a private letter sent by Meghan, but felt pressured to do so after he was "mischaracterised" in a magazine article.

Thomas Markle, 75, claimed he felt forced to share the note, which is now at the centre of a legal battle between Meghan and the Mail on Sunday, after it was misrepresented by an article in People magazine.

The handwritten letter was published in February, but in an interview with the newspaper, Mr Markle said he kept the "hurtful" letter secret for six months and never intended to share it.

The retired lighting director said he was "devastated" when it was first mentioned publicly in the American magazine.

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Meghan Markle et Harry, absents de Balmoral : la grosse pique de leur entourage à Kate et William
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will reportedly not be visiting Balmoral this year. [Photo: Getty]
The Duchess of Sussex at the European Premiere of The Lion King, Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees match in London, Britain June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/Pool
The Duchess of Sussex holding her son Archie as they attend the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie as they the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club, Wokingham, Berkshire.
This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Windsor Castle with with the Rose Garden in the background, near London, Britain July 6, 2019. Chris Allerton/Pool via REUTERS NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER AFTER 31 DECEMBER, 2019 WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS. NO CROPPING. Copyright in this photograph is vested in The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. No charge should be made for the supply, release or publication of the photograph. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the New York Yankees as they attend the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at the London Stadium in support of the Invictus Games Foundation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the Boston Red Sox as they attend the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at the London Stadium in support of the Invictus Games Foundation.
Après avoir quitté celle de Kate Middleton et du Prince William, Meghan Markle et le Prince Harry viennent de partager le nom de leur propre fondation. Les détails ici.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Duke of Sussex attends "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Sorry not sorry.
Meghan Markle et le prince Harry viennent une nouvelle fois de s’attirer les foudres des Britanniques. En cause : la rénovation des jardins privés de Frogmore Cottage.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/23/19 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex arrive at Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport as they begin their visit to the Kingdom of Morocco. (Casablanca, Morocco)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle watch Wheelchair Tennis at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at a photocall to announce their engagement at Kensington Palace, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet well-wishers as they arrive at the Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, to attend a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair on their first official engagement together.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a visit to the Nottingham Academy in Nottingham, on their first official engagement together.
1 in series of 10. File photo dated 18/1/2018 of Prince Harry whispering to Meghan Markle as they watch a performance by a Welsh choir in the banqueting hall during a visit to Cardiff Castle.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a reception for young people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, during their visit to Scotland.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talk to sisters Jean Dickinson and Irene Gould on a walkabout during a visit to Millennium Point in Birmingham, as part of the latest leg in the regional tours the couple are undertaking in the run-up to their May wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for a walkabout in Belfast city centre where they are visiting the Crown Liquor Saloon Bar
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend a women's empowerment reception at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Australian High Commission in London to attend a reception celebrating the forthcoming Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
Prince William (left), Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during the annual Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, London, to commemorate Anzac Day.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle during their wedding service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their wedding service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
File photo dated 19/05/18 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they leave at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony. Princess Eugenie will be the fifth of the Queen's eight grandchildren to wed.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get into the Ascot Landau Carriage as they leave St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss as they leave at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London during Trooping the Colour
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, in central London, following the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade as the Queen celebrates her official birthday.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive to meet youngsters from across the Commonwealth as they attend the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Marlborough House in London.
(left to right) The Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Duchess of Sussex, Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge on the balcony at Buckingham Palace where they watched a Royal Air Force flypast over central London to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a Summer Party at the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House, during a visit to Dublin, Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Aras an Uachtarain on the second day of their visit to Dublin, Ireland.
Walter Kieran, 3, reaches out to touch the Duchess of Sussex's hair during her visit with the Duke of Sussex to Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meeting 'King George' and the cast at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London after attending a gala performance of the musical Hamilton, in support of Sentebale.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart during a visit to the University of Chichester, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, as part of their first joint official visit to Sussex.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look out at a heavy downpour of rain during a visit to Clontarf Foundation and Girls Academy in Dubbo, New South Wales, on the second day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex react after starting model Formula 1 cars at a demonstration by Formula 1 in Schools, at a reception given by the Governor of Victoria, at Government House during their visit to Melbourne, on the third day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet members of surfing community group One Wave during a visit to South Bondi Beach in Sydney, on the day of the royal couple's visit to Australia.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk along Kingfisher Bay Jetty on Fraser Island, Queensland, on day seven of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's visit to Australia.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, on day two of the royal couple's visit to Fiji.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the unveiling of a statue commemorating Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, at Nadi Airport, in Nadi, Fiji, on day three of the royal couple's visit to Fiji.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wear traditional Maori cloaks called Korowai during a visit to Te Papaiouru, Ohinemutu, in Rotorua, before a lunch in honour of Harry and Meghan, on day four of the royal couple's tour of New Zealand.
The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of Sussex arriving to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.
3 in series of 10. File photo 19/4/2018 of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attending a women's empowerment reception at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, following a walkabout and a visit to a new sculpture marking the 100th anniversary of war poet Wilfred Owen�s death.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving at the Endeavour Fund Awards at Draper�s Hall, London. The awards celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges over the last year. Picture Credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Duchess of Sussex receives a bouquet of flowers as she and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, leave Canada House in London after a Commonwealth Day youth event celebrating the diverse community of young Canadians living in London and around the UK.
(left to right) The Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex , the Duchess of Sussex and the Prince of Wales as they attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are received by HM The King of Morocco in an Audience today at the Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-09/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 10/22/18 Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visit Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island in Australia.
May 19th 2019 - Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They were married at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on May 19th 2018. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 2/25/19 Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle (The Duke and Duchess of Sussex) at a cooking school demonstration in Rabat on day three of their tour of Morocco.
Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, Friday April 29, 2011. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
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He said: "I decided to release parts of the letter because of the article from Meghan's friends in People magazine. 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.

"There was no loving message in there, nothing asking about my health, nothing from her saying, 'Let's get together and heal our differences'."

People magazine quoted an anonymous friend of Meghan, claiming that the duchess felt her father did not understand her desire for privacy after he suggested they should pose together for a press photo.

Mr Markle said: "I don't want a picture for any other reason than if we show harmony then the press will back off.

"When I opened the letter I was hoping it was the olive branch I'd longed for. I was expecting something that would be a pathway to reconciliation. Instead it was deeply hurtful.

"I was so devastated I couldn't show it to anyone – and never would have, had it not been for the People magazine piece which meant I had to release portions to defend myself."

This week, Meghan began legal proceedings against the newspaper, claiming it had breached copyright, infringed her privacy and breached the Data Protection Act by publishing the note.

The claim also alleges the paper edited the letter by "strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year".

The Duke of Sussex recently accused the tabloid press of a "ruthless campaign" against his wife, adding: "I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

He continued: "Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one.

"Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person."

Harry said about his wife: "I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in."

The Mail on Sunday said it intends to defend itself "vigorously" if the case ends up in court and denies changing the meaning of the document.

Four days after Meghan's legal proceedings became public, it was claimed that the Duke of Sussex is reportedly expected to claim that journalists from the Sun and Daily Mirror newspapers hacked messages he left on his mother's phone as a child.

Proceedings initiated by Harry at the High Court on Friday in relation to the illegal interception of voicemail messages are now said to include allegations reporters and private investigators accessed Diana, Princess of Wales' voicemails.

The group claim, first reported by the website Byline, is believed to involve historic allegations of phone hacking where journalists and private investigators are said to have intercepted messages Harry left on Diana's phone as a child.

It is also thought that in court documents journalists are alleged to have hired private investigators to access the late princess' phone both before and after her death in August 1997.

Claims have also reportedly been made that staff at The Sun deleted emails and removed potential evidence when public concerns about phone hacking were first raised.

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