London - Kensington Palace officials will have choked on their toast and marmalade if they watched Good Morning Britain.
There on the ITV breakfast programme was Thomas Markle, father of the new Duchess of Sussex, giving a candid interview which they had been told nothing about.
And the gently-spoken 73-year-old had plenty of revealing things to say – about his daughter, her marriage to Prince Harry, the Royal Family and the wider world.
HOW HARRY ASKED FOR HIS BLESSING
While many potential son-in-laws take their girlfriend’s fathers out for a pint and a quiet chat, in Harry’s case it could not have been more different.
To start with, it was clear he had already popped the question to Meghan – and father and daughter had several conversations before she finally put the prince on the line to ask his permission.
Mr Markle said: "Actually, Meghan told me first and then a few times after that, Harry got on the phone with Meghan, they called me together, and Harry asked for her hand over the phone.
"And I said, 'You’re a gentleman, promise me you’ll never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I give you my permission'."
‘DAD, I HAVE A NEW BOYFRIEND’
Meghan was, by all accounts, rather reticent to reveal her new boyfriend’s identity even to her own father when the pair started dating in July 2016.
Mr Markle revealed: "The first phone calls were, 'Dad, I have a new boyfriend'. And I said, 'That’s really nice'. And then the next call was like, 'He’s British'. And I said, 'That’s really nice'.
"And eventually the third time round was, 'He’s a prince'. At that point she said, 'It’s Harry'. And I said, 'Oh Harry, okay'. And she said, 'Of course, we’ll have to call him H so no one knows we’re talking about Harry. It’s H'. And then we talked about that, and eventually I spoke to him as well. Very nice man. Gentleman."
‘SHE’S ALWAYS BEEN A PRINCESS’
Mr Markle could not hide his pride at what his daughter has achieved, both as an actress and a humanitarian, and said he nicknamed her Bean because she "is so small" and loved Jack and the Beanstalk.
He admitted being shocked when he first discovered that Meghan was dating a prince, but added: "This is my daughter and she’s certainly a prize for him as well. He’s great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter’s been a princess since the day she was born.
"At the time, I didn’t realise [the magnitude of dating a royal], I’m not even sure she realised that, I’m sure it’s very complicated, the royals are very complicated, it’s a whole different lifestyle.
"But I think she can always rise to that occasion. My daughter is capable of anything and she’ll certainly be a complement to the Royal Family. I don’t think I’ll call her duchess. I don’t have to, that’s my daughter."
‘I SO WANTED TO BE AT THE WEDDING’
Despite his reclusive lifestyle, Mr Markle insists that he did want to walk his daughter down the aisle, saying: "Absolutely, from the very start. I absolutely wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle.
"Meghan was putting together fittings for me, to make suits for me, shoe sizes. Actually it was all done in sort of secret. They’d arrange for me to show up in Los Angeles or in Beverly Hills under different names to get a fitting.
"I was excited about that and ready for it. Me going to England, it was all set in place for me to go."
THE TRUTH ABOUT THAT HEART ATTACK
Mr Markle insists that despite public scepticism, he really did have a heart attack. "I told Meghan before I was going in for the surgery," he said.
"The preparations [for his visit to Britain] were done by my daughter who worked very hard to get everything ready for me if I came there. I feel bad that she put all that work in and I didn’t do it, but I couldn’t do much about it laying on my couch with a bad heart."Daily Mail