RICHARD KAY: Discarding The Duchess’s Father, Tom Markle Is Cruel

RICHARD KAY: Discarding The Duchess's Father, Tom Markle Is Cruel

FIVE birthdays have passed for Thomas Markle since he last spoke to his daughter Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Today, July 18, is the sixth. He is 79, an age when a man likes to have his affairs in order.

But for Mr. Markle, the rift with the girl he used to bring to the Hollywood studios where he manipulated the lighting for some of network television’s most popular shows is as deep today as it’s ever been.

Of all the broken relationships that have marked Meghan and Prince Harry’s lives since their divorce from the royal family, the cruelest is undoubtedly how they threw out the Duchess’s father.

There have been no sophisticated palace operations or soothing words to protect the aged Tom Markle, like, say, Prince William or his father King Charles. Mr. Markle has had to go it alone.

No wonder his public outbursts about his treatment were bitter. But there is a sadness in the bitterness, a regret for what could have been. Not only has he never met his son-in-law, but he’s also been robbed of his role as grandfather to Archie and Lilibet.

Today marks a little over a year since Mr. Markle lay seriously ill and was unable to speak due to a stroke. This is how Richard Kay described the situation at the time.

A proud and protective Thomas Markle with his daughter Meghan. The two seem fond of each other

How different it could have been, not only for Thomas Markle but also for Prince Harry.

Away from home, Harry could have had the stability he so clearly lacked since abandoning his own family.

And who better than Mr. Markle to guide him through the realities of living in a mixed-race marriage. But none of this wisdom is available to Harry. Instead, their relationship was one of sour mistrust.

It hardly helped that Mr. Markle put forward his own staunch views of his daughter and her husband. Accusing Harry of being “snotty” and an “idiot” who was “thrashed” by Meghan would probably never endear him to his son-in-law.

Yet this cannot justify Harry’s own behavior. The roots of this misfortune lie in the weeks leading up to Harry and Meghan’s 2018 royal wedding.

Mr Markle was found to have collaborated with a paparazzi photographer in capturing images of him preparing for the wedding ceremony, from reading British history to measuring for a wedding suit.

It was naive, foolish even, hardly idiosyncratic. The irony was that this act of invasion of his own privacy came at a time when palace officials were sending strict warnings to the media not to harass him.

Indeed, it was hard not to avoid the conclusion that royal advisers hadn’t realized that this lonely but thoroughly decent man would struggle to cope with the enormity of his daughter’s marriage to the British royal family.

It seemed then – and it seems now – remarkable that the necessary efforts were not made to prepare Mr Markle for the news, to provide an assistant to brief him, or, better still, to fly him to London and lodge him in a royal house where he could have acclimatized for the wedding.

But perhaps the most baffling failure was Harry’s. Even now, four years later, it’s hard to understand why Harry hasn’t met his girlfriend’s father in person, as any future son-in-law would.

There must have been countless occasions for Harry (and Meghan) to pay a private visit to her father – long before he started giving interviews.

On the eve of the wedding, when Thomas revealed that he stopped giving his daughter away due to heart problems, the relationship between the two men turned toxic.

Mr Markle said he hung up on Harry during a heated telephone conversation. While he accepted that the prince had every right to rebuke him for the staged photos, he described the timing of the call as “rude.”

While admitting to lying about the incident, he added, “There’s a time and place to say what he said, but not when I’m in the hospital after a heart attack.” He claimed that he ended the call after telling the prince, “Perhaps it would be better for you if I were dead…then you could pretend to be sad.” The outrage has been bubbling up for a while.

He claimed that when the couple’s engagement was announced, two representatives from the British consulate in Los Angeles visited the home of his ex-wife Doria Ragland – Meghan’s mother – to present her with a copy of the official scroll announcing to be handed over by the Queen.

“No one came to my door in Mexico,” he complained. “I would have liked the engagement announcement, too.” Grumpy maybe, but totally understandable.

But by the time of the Duke and Duchess’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Meghan described the fake-photo episode as a “betrayal.”

She said she asked her father directly if he had spoken to tabloids (about the photos) and he replied, “No, absolutely not.” She said she told him that “if you tell me the truth, we can help.” According to Meghan, her father was “unable to do that,” and she described his refusal to answer as “so hard for me to reconcile.”

Of course, by the time of the interview, the couple had long slammed the door on Mr. Markle.

But instead of seeking reconciliation, the relationship continued to unravel.

In December 2018, Thomas claimed he had been “ghosted” by his daughter and that she had not responded to the numerous attempts he had made to contact her. The situation worsened even more when The Mail on Sunday revealed details of a handwritten letter she had sent him.

The Duchess sued the newspaper for reproducing parts of the “personal and private” letter and paid damages for infringement of her copyright.

Even then, rapprochement might still have been possible. Thomas longs to see his two grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet.

It’s not just three lives damaged by this escalating tragedy, now five are divided by this bitter disagreement.

Harry has said how sad it was that his mother never knew Princess Diana Meghan. How much sadder will it be if he never gets to know Meghan’s father.

Imagine how much he could learn about fatherhood from the man who uniquely taught his daughter about her mixed-race heritage. Meghan proudly recalled opening a gift one Christmas day that contained a set of Barbie dolls, specially customized by Thomas to reflect her family – a black doll and a white one.

When he won money in the California State Lottery in 1990, Thomas invested some but spent most of it on his children — Thomas Jr. and Samantha from a previous marriage — and paid for Meghan to attend a Catholic high school.

They were formative years for Meghan as she lived mostly with her father. Of course, Doria was able to tell the prince something about Meghan’s childhood, but a complete picture should also involve her father.

Is it really too late for Harry to put the past behind him and contact Mr. Markle? I don’t think so – but if he doesn’t, I’m afraid he’s going to regret it.

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Mr Priceless
A young person with a passion for success and excellence to develop a professional career that encourages empowerment in the overall development of a person which is achieved through hard work. A Journalist with facts and a difference; standing by the truth all the time with interests in Science & Technology, Health, Celebrities' Lifestyle, Crimes, Education and Career Improvement.


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