A lot has been made of Prince Harry’s broken relationship with his father King Charles III and the rest of the royal family, particularly in the past year with his tell-all memoir Spare and his and his wife’s Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. But the fact remains that Meghan Markle also remains estranged from her father and his side of the family. Thomas Markle has been begging his daughter for years to let him back in her life, and he recently issued another plea to let him meet his grandchildren before he dies, calling the Sussexes’ actions against him and the king “cruel.”
Just before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married in 2018, Thomas Markle was accused of staging photos for paparazzi, causing a rift in their relationship that has yet to be repaired. Now he wants to “put the past behind” them, he told Good Morning Britain in what the anchors said was possibly his final interview, as he begged to be allowed to meet 4-year-old Archie and 2-year-old Lilibet. Thomas said:
I’m very upset … because this is a cruel thing to do to a grandparent. Not just me, to the king in England as well. Denied the right to see a grandchild.
Time may be an issue for Thomas Markle, as the 79-year-old suffered a stroke last May, leaving him unable to speak for some time, before speech therapy helped him to regain some of that ability. He allegedly hasn’t had any contact with the Duchess of Sussex since before the nuptials five years ago. The paparazzi scandal reportedly resulted in his invitation to the royal wedding being revoked — though Thomas insists it was health issues that prevented him from attending. Either way, he was unable to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Despite that issue, Thomas Markle said he’s done nothing wrong to deserve being cut out of his daughter’s and grandchildrens’ lives. He maintains that he was the victim of a ploy in the paparazzi scheme, and while he doesn’t want to go this route, he said he could sue Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in California to see Archie and Lilibet. Thomas continued:
I’ve done nothing wrong. There’s nothing that points at me that says I’m a bad guy. As a matter of fact, I was a really loving father and she knows that, and there’s no excuse for her to treat me this way and no excuse to treat the king that way as well. There’s really no excuse to treat grandparents that way.
This is far from the first time Thomas Markle has spoken about wanting to reconcile with his daughter. Even in the months following the royal wedding he mused that maybe Meghan Markle would be better off if he were dead, though he said he’d hate to go without having made up with her first. At one point he said he was even considering going to England to reunite with her.
In the interview, Meghan Markle’s dad reiterated that he desperately wants to see his grandchildren, comparing the last five years to a prison sentence. In Thomas Markle’s words:
I have always been here for her. I still love her. I love her forever, I’m never going to change that feeling. But I want her to reach out to me and let me see my grandkids and let me have a little peace. It's been five years. In prison, guys go for things in prison for five years and then they’re forgiven. I didn’t do anything.
Meghan Markle obviously has her reasons for cutting off the relationship with her father, but only time will tell if she’s willing to let him back into her life, at least enough to introduce Archie and Lilibet. You can hear Meghan Markle’s own thoughts on the rift with Thomas Markle and her family on Harry & Meghan, which is available to stream with a Netflix subscription.