For months, the letter has stayed concealed in his battered black leather briefcase inside a simple FedEx envelope. Five pages, written in his daughter’s distinctive, elegant script – he shared it with no one because, he says: ‘It was just too painful.’
‘When I opened the letter I was hoping it was the olive branch I’d longed for,’ he said last night. ‘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 events of last week.’
Indeed, the existence of the letter – in which his daughter chastises her father time and again – was revealed by anonymous friends of the Duchess in a magazine article published in the US on Wednesday. It was portrayed as a loving missive from a heartbroken daughter anxious to heal the rift with her father.
Except it wasn’t.
‘There was no loving message in there, nothing asking about my health, nothing from her saying, “Let’s get together and heal our differences,” Mr Markle, 74, said last night.
According to a ‘longtime friend’ of Meghan’s quoted in People: ‘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 victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship.”
Yet, Mr Markle insists, the letter again proves she and Harry have ‘misunderstood’ him – leading time and again to her believing one thing whereas, he insists, his reality is far different.
In one angry passage, the Duchess blasts her father for not telling her he would not walk her down the aisle. Prince Charles famously stood in at the last minute.
She writes: ’You’ve told the press that you called me to say you weren’t coming to the wedding – that didn’t happen because you never called.’
Mr Markle says this is ‘totally false’ and he has the text messages proving it.
He pulls out his phone and scrolls through dozens of text messages between himself, his daughter and Prince Harry.
In the turbulent week before his daughter’s May 19 wedding, Mr Markle was exposed by this newspaper as colluding with a paparazzi photographer. He later ended up in hospital after suffering two heart attacks and underwent an angioplasty procedure to unblock two arteries to his heart.
It is during this time that the relationship between him and the couple fell apart.
In her letter, the Duchess accuses him of ignoring her increasingly desperate attempts to reach him.
She writes: “From my phone alone, I called you over 20 times and you ignored my calls… leaving me in the days before our wedding worried, confused, shocked and absolutely blindsided.’
Mr Markle shakes his head: ‘I don’t know anything about 20 phone calls. There were no missed messages.’ He shows me a text message dated May 16 which, he insists, proves ‘conclusively’ that he told the couple he could not fly to the UK as planned.
The text reads: ‘Surgery went OK… The doctor will not allow me to fly so of course I’m sorry but I can’t come. Love you and wish you the best of everything.’