Harry faced ‘constant berating’ from royal family, Meghan told aide

Harry faced ‘constant berating’ from royal family, Meghan told aide
Duchess of Sussex says she decided to write five-page letter to Thomas Markle to ‘protect’ husband

Meghan Markle wrote a five-page letter to her estranged father to “protect” Harry from the royal family’s “constant berating”, she told her aide in a text message.

In a text to her then communications secretary Jason Knauf, the Duchess of Sussex said her husband spent a week “endlessly explaining” the situation with her father to the Prince of Wales while staying with him – but the family “fundamentally don’t understand”.

“The catalyst for my doing this is seeing how much pain this is causing H,” she wrote. “Even after a week with his dad and endlessly explaining the situation, his family seem to forget the context – and revert to ‘can’t she just go and see him and make this stop?’

“They fundamentally don’t understand so at least by writing H will be able to say to his family ‘she wrote him a letter and he’s still doing it’.

“By taking this form of action I protect my husband from this constant berating and while unlikely perhaps it will give my father a moment to pause.”

A string of text messages and emails exchanged between Meghan and Mr Knauf have been made public following a three-day appeal hearing brought by the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.

Meghan sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle in August 2018.

In explosive new evidence that came on the second day of the appeal, Mr Knauf claimed in a witness statement that the duchess wrote the letter with the understanding that it could be leaked.

On the same day, a statement from Meghan contained an apology to the court for not remembering an email exchange in which she agreed Mr Knauf could provide information to the authors of Finding Freedom, a book about the duke and duchess.

Extracts of text messages and emails used in court, made public on Friday following representations from the media, shed more light on how Meghan came to write the five-page letter to her father about his behaviour surrounding her wedding.

In one text message exchange between Meghan and Mr Krauf on 22 August 2018, while the duchess was drafting the letter, she suggested she would refer to her father as “Daddy” as it would “pull at the heartstrings” in the event it was leaked.

The text messages show Meghan was in Toronto at the time while Mr Krauf was in Tonga on a recce ahead of the Sussexes’ royal tour.

They also show Mr Krauf had Meghan’s number saved in his phone under the pseudonym “Tilly”, while the duchess’s email signature said: “Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any technological mishaps. I’m a Luddite.”

“Hi Jason – I hope the recce is going well,” Meghan wrote. “I am currently in Toronto and have drafted a letter to have mailed to my dad.

“I share this with you in confidence – the letter itself and its contents. My plan is to write it by hand and fedex it to [redacted] who will then mail it to my father.

“My thinking behind this is that unlike a text or email it can’t be forwarded or cut and pasted to only share one small portion.

“It also does not open the door for a conversation.

“The catalyst for my doing this is seeing how much pain this is causing H.”

The duchess went on to criticise the royal family’s reaction to the ongoing situation with her father.

“My initial view is that this is a very good idea,” Mr Krauf wrote back in response. “The draft letter is very strong – enough emotion to be authentic, but all in resigned sadness rather than anger.

“Also is factually focussed in a way that does not read like a legal filing – that is not easy to do.”

He added: “Also, there are a few tweaks to the order of events as you’ve set them out that could be a bit stronger – I think it’s slightly even worse than you remember.”

Mr Krauf went on to suggest Meghan should include reference to her father’s heart attack – his reason for missing her wedding in May 2018.

“The only thing I think is essential to address in some way is the ‘heart attack’,” he wrote. “That is his best opening for criticism and sympathy.

“The truth is you tried desperately to find out about the medical treatment he said he was receiving and he stopped communicating with you.

“You begged him to accept help to drive him to the hospital, etc and instead of speaking to you to arrange this he stopped answering his phone and only spoke to TMZ.”

Meghan said she felt “fantastic” after writing a draft of the letter. In a text to Mr Krauf, she said it was “cathartic and real and honest and factual”, adding: “And if he leaks it then that’s on his conscious [sic] but at least the world will know the truth. Words I could never voice publicly.”

The messages also include emails between the duchess, Prince Harry, and Mr Knauf discussing a briefing meeting with the authors of Finding Freedom.

In an email to Meghan in December 2018, Mr Krauf said he had spent “close to two hours” with the authors of the unauthorised biography.

“I took them through everything,” he wrote. “They are going to time the book for run up to the baby being born and it is going to be very positive.”

At the Court of Appeal hearing on Thursday, the three senior judges in the case said they will take time to carefully consider their decision before giving their ruling on ANL’s appeal at a later date.


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