The Duchess of Sussex’s father has been paid £7,500 (about R136 963) to reveal details of their relationship, his private conversations with Prince Harry and thoughts on the royals in an extraordinary TV interview.
Thomas Markle, 73, was flown by ITV’s Good Morning Britain from his home in Mexico to a luxury hotel in California to discuss everything from making Harry promise never to ‘raise his hand’ to Meghan, to the prince’s views on Brexit and Donald Trump.
His decision to accept the payment comes weeks after he was exposed as posing for fake paparazzi photographs to ‘improve’ his public image, for which he has admitted accepting payment.
The resulting furore – and his subsequent decision to pull out of giving his daughter away days before her wedding last month – prompted an unprecedented public statement by Meghan, 36.
In it she described the situation between herself and her father as ‘deeply personal’. She and Harry also pleaded for ‘understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation’.
Kensington Palace officials were deliberately kept in the dark about the TV interview so there was no opportunity to dissuade Mr Markle from taking part.
The former Hollywood lighting director also confirmed he hadn’t warned his daughter or her new husband in advance, but said he hoped he hadn’t offended them and that the Royal Family would ‘understand my feelings as well’.
The interview saw the recluse claim that Harry had said he was ‘open’ to Brexit and that people needed to ‘give Trump a chance’. He also said that:
* Meghan kept the fact that she was dating Harry secret at first – and later asked her father to refer to him by the codename ‘H’.
* Harry had already popped the question to his daughter by the time he asked for her hand in marriage by phone and when he did, Meghan was also on the line.
* He gave his permission for the couple to wed as long as Harry promised never to ‘raise his hand’ against his daughter.
* It was a ‘mistake’ to collude with the paparazzi and he had apologised to Harry and Meghan, who forgave him.
* He was ‘grateful’ to Charles for stepping in when he was forced to pull out of giving his daughter away due to heart surgery, but admitted he felt jealous.
* He still hasn’t met Harry – and has no idea when he will.
* Meghan has wanted children for a long time and he believes they will try for a baby ‘sooner or later’.
Kensington Palace declined to comment on the interview or the astonishing claims, but there is little doubt that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex have again been left humiliated by the continuing Markle family soap opera.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan confirmed that Meghan’s father had pocketed ‘a few thousand pounds’ but insisted his ‘ultimate motive was not money’.
He claimed Mr Markle had turned down significantly higher offers from the US media but chose the British programme as he wanted the ‘proper chance’ to put across his ‘side of the story’. Mr Markle’s decision to ‘sell out’ will be frustrating for palace officials who, after a dramatic run-up to the royal wedding, managed to pull off an extremely successful global event and had no doubt hoped to see the back of any further Markle family revelations.
The fact that Mr Markle chose not to discuss the interview beforehand with his daughter is likely to be seen by many as suggesting their relationship is fractured in the extreme.
Royal sources have maintained, however, they have done everything they can to help and guide Mr Markle, and say he is a proud man who finds it difficult to accept assistance from his daughter.