Following those staged paparazzi photos and TV interviews, the public isn’t really sure what to make of the relationship between Meghan Markle and her father, Thomas Markle Sr.
The former actress’ dad had been much of a mystery in the months leading up to the royal wedding. Just a few weeks before the ceremony though, the palace announced that Markle Sr. would be making the trip to London to walk his daughter down the aisle. The announcement, of course, came days before Markle Sr. made headlines for staging photos of himself acting like he was prepping for the big day by getting fitted for a suit and reading British literature.
Despite the embarrassing scandal, the former lighting director was still thought to be making the trip. Finally, after the will-he-or-won’t-he speculation, the palace made another announcement that Markle Sr. would not be traveling due to health issues. Since then, he’s talked to the press several times even though his daughter and son-in-law asked him not to. He’s also blasted the queen for not meeting him, casually discussed what the prince’s politics might be, and claimed that Meghan is struggling to cope with the demands of the royal family.
Their relationship seems bizarre now but it’s always been complicated.
Markle’s parents divorced when she was 6 years old and while she lived with her mother she would visit her father after school when he worked on the set of Married…with Children. “There were a lot of times my dad would say, ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-color for your 11-year-old eyes,'” she told Esquire in 2013. She wasn’t allowed to tune into the provocative sitcom but said, “I could watch the end credits so I could give the screen a kiss when I saw my dad’s name go by.”
However, by Meghan’s own admission she and her father went through times when they wouldn’t talk. This information surfaced when the actress’ former friend, Ninaki Priddy, gave the British tabloids a tape of Meghan talking about being in the area but not going to her father’s house. “From Dad’s house, you can see the Hollywood sign. But we aren’t going to go there because my dad and I aren’t on the best of terms,” she can be heard saying in the video.
For what it’s worth Meghan’s estranged half-siblings, Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant, have claimed that their sister refused to help out their father in 2016 when he filed for bankruptcy. But that same year Meghan posted a sweet Father’s Day message to Markle Sr. via Instagram writing, “Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose. I love you.”
And, in a 2017 Vanity Fair profile, Markle spoke fondly of both her parents and mentioned how proud her father was of her when she landed her role on Suits. “My father knew how hard it is for an actor to get work so he above all people was so proud that I was about to beat the odds,” she said.
Fast forward to July 2018 and in his interview with The Sun, Markle Sr. admitted that he had not talked to Meghan or Prince Harry at all since their wedding in May. It’s safe to assume that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not happy that he ignored their advice about not speaking to the press and doing interviews for a payout. But we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out and if he and his daughter are able to mend fences once again.