Meghan Markle’s estranged father, Thomas Markle, revealed why he chose to release parts of a private letter the Duchess of Sussex sent him that has since become the subject of a legal battle with British tabloids.
“I decided to release parts of the letter because of the article from Meghan’s friends in People magazine. I have to defend myself,” he told the outlet. “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.”
Thomas, 75, references a February report from People in which Markle’s unnamed friend characterizes the letter she sent her dad as being a loving plea for them to mend their fractured relationship.
“After the wedding she wrote him a letter. She’s like, ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimizing me through the media so we can repair our relationship,’” the friend told the outlet. “Because every time her team has to come to her and fact-check something [he has said], it’s an arrow to the heart.”
"The letter didn’t seem loving to me. I found it hurtful."
However, Thomas denies that account, saying the letter was more of "a final farewell."
Meghan’s friend also claims that Thomas responded to the letter by requesting a photo opportunity with her. However, he previously told the Daily Mail that his intention behind the photo request was misinterpreted.
“When Doria [Meghan’s mother] was photographed with Meghan and Harry for the first time it showed she was part of the family. I don’t want a picture for any other reason than if we show harmony then the press will back off,” he said.
The release of the letter excerpts is now the subject of a legal battle between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and British newspapers. Last week, Harry released a statement condemning the "British tabloid press" for waging a "ruthless campaign" against Markle "that has escalated over the past year" throughout the course of her pregnancy and while raising the couple's 4-month-old son Archie. Harry also revealed the pair would be taking legal action.
According to a legal spokesperson representing Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex filed a claim against the Mail on Sunday -- and its parent company Associated Newspapers -- alleging "the intrusive and unlawful publication of a private letter written by" Meghan. Although the statement does not name the specific letter, The Guardian reports that the Mail on Sunday published parts of the letter penned by Markle to her estranged father.
Meanwhile, Harry is suing Daily Mirror and The Sun claiming in the High Court of Justice, "illegal interception of voicemail messages," Buckingham Palace confirmed on Saturday to The Associated Press.
The Sun is owned by News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of News Group -- which is a sister company of Fox Corporation, which owns Fox News Group. The newspaper acknowledged Harry's legal action. Reach plc, which owns the Daily Mirror, said it was "aware that proceedings have been issued" but hasn't yet received notice of them.
"Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations -- something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis," Harry noted in his statement.
He continued: "I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Fox News' Mariah Haas and the Associated Press contributed to this report.