Meghan dad: I hung up on rude Harry
HURT, ANGRY & PERPLEXED: INCENDIARY INTERVIEW THAT WILL ROCK THE ROYALS
THOMAS Markle last night revealed how he dramatically hung up on Prince Harry during a heated telephone call – after he was exposed for staging paparazzi photos.
Megan Markle’s father said he was ‘upset’ by Harry’s tirade, which came as he recovered in hospital from a heart attack.
And though he accepts Harry was ‘absolutely right’ to admonish him, he described the timing of the phone call from the prince as ‘rude’.
Today, in his most explosive interview yet, Mr Markle also confesses that he lied to the prince when Harry asked him if he had co-operated with a paparazzi photographer to pose for shots – one of which showed him apparently being fitted for a wedding suit. Mr Markle told his soon-to-be son-in-law that he was simply being ‘measured for a hoodie’.
In this searingly revealing interview – which Mr Markle vows will be his last – he adds that:
Meghan told him there would be ‘no room’ for his speech at her wedding, leaving him feeling ‘hurt’;
Claims of a rapprochement between him and the royal couple are wrong and that they have not spoken for months;
He ‘doesn’t care’ about the royals and wants his old life back.
Mr Markle, 74, made global headlines in May when he pulled out of walking his daughter down the aisle days before her wedding at Windsor, blaming a heart attack.
His shock decision came the day after The Mail on Sunday revealed he had been colluding with a paparazzi photographer to pose for staged photos.
Here, we reveal details of the remarkable calls that took place between Mr Markle and Prince Harry following the exposé.
Though they have never met, Harry and Mr Markle had enjoyed a series of ‘warm and chatty’ phone conversations after Meghan told him of her romance with the royal. Among other things, they discussed what to do when news of the relationship became public – and Harry advised Mr Markle to avoid the paparazzi at all costs.
Mr Markle recalled: ‘Harry told me that I should never go to the press. That it would end in tears. He said, “They will eat you alive.” He was right.’
Instead of taking Harry’s advice, Mr Markle made a secret arrangement to pose for a series of pictures – a decision he now bitterly regrets. The photos made £100,000 for the photographer and a smaller amount for Mr Markle.
On Friday, May 11, the MoS informed Kensington Palace of the revelations it was to publish two days later after it discovered CCTV footage of Mr Markle collaborating with the photographer.
Harry called Mr Markle to ask if he had co-operated for shots which showed him, among other things, supposedly being fitted for a wedding suit. At this point, Mr Markle admits, he lied to the prince.
After the story appeared, Harry and Meghan called Mr Markle again, though by then he was in hospital recovering from a heart attack.
Mr Markle said the prince told him: ‘If you had listened to me this would never have happened’.
Mr Markle said he told Harry: ‘Maybe it would be better for you guys if I was dead… then you could pretend to be sad. ‘Then I hung up.’ In hindsight, he admits Harry was ‘absolutely right’ to criticise him. Yet it was Meghan who dealt perhaps the most painful blow when she told her father he would not be allowed to make a speech at the wedding. ‘That hurt,’ he said.
Mr Markle added: ‘I’m not mad at Harry. I’m not mad at Meghan. I love them. I wish them well. But as for the rest of it, f*** it. I’m done.’
Kensington Palace declined to comment last night. THOMAS Markle was in his hospital bed in the Chula Vista Medical Center, San Diego, recovering from a heart attack when his mobile phone rang.
It was just three days before the royal wedding and a familiar voice said to him: ‘If you had listened to me this would never have happened.’
It was Prince Harry, the man who was about to become his son-in-law, and he was understandably furious having learned Mr Markle had cooperated with the paparazzi to stage photos.
In a previous conversation, Harry had told him ‘that I should never go to the press. He was right’.
On Friday May 11, the MoS informed Kensington Palace of the bombshell revelations about Mr Markle to be published two days later. That Friday, Harry called Mr Markle to ask if he had co-operated with the shots which showed him, among other things, supposedly being measured for a wedding suit for the big day.
Mr Markle admits lying to his sonin-law to be, telling him: ‘No, I was being measured for a new hoodie.’
Three days after the MoS story was published on May 13, Harry and Meghan called Mr Markle again when he was in hospital.
That was when the prince told Mr Markle that he should have heeded his warning.
In hindsight, he admits Prince Harry was ‘absolutely right’ to criticise him for dealing with the paparazzi for money.
The intense media spotlight trained on Meghan’s romance, engagement and marriage to Harry brought ‘chaos’ to his once-quiet life of retirement in a hilltop home in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, near the US border. And for now, retired Emmy-award-winning lighting director Mr Markle is ‘royally p **** d off’.
He is fed up of the ‘constant lies’ written about him; he is fed up with his life being ‘ruined’; he is fed up with royal aides not offering him any help or guidance.
He has been ‘sold out’ by several friends and says his family, including his brother Fred, a retired bishop of an Eastern Orthodox Catholic church in Florida, have been vilified.
‘They took a picture of his little church,’ he said, ‘and put it beside a picture of the Queen’s church. It was insulting and offensive.’
As he talks, it is clear he is an immensely proud man who has been wounded by some of the actions – or rather inaction – of palace aides.
When news of Meghan’s romance broke, he says he ‘was given no
‘I’m not mad at Harry or Meghan. I love them’
advice whatsoever except not to talk to the press.
‘I was hung out to dry. I was being chased and harassed on a daily basis. I didn’t know who to turn to.
‘They (the palace) gave me no help at all. I felt utterly isolated.’
Kensington Palace and its army of advisers have been similarly accused of a ‘communications disaster’ by commentators after news broke that Mr Markle wouldn’t be attending his daughter’s wedding.
Royal experts questioned why he was left to cope with the glare of the media spotlight, in contrast to the support given by the royals to Kate Middleton’s family in the run-up to her wedding with Prince William in 2011.
Critics said royal officials should have brought Mr Markle ‘under their wing’ to help him deal with and prepare for the wedding.
But behind closed doors, there appears to have been a long-running rift between Meghan and her dad. Since the wedding, Mr Markle has been outspoken about the rift.
A month after the wedding, in a breach of royal protocol, he told Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain that he had discussed politics with Harry on the phone and claimed the Prince was ‘open to Brexit’ and urged him to give President Donald Trump ‘a chance’.
Mr Markle has also revealed he has not spoken to his daughter since the wedding and that he feels he had been ‘cut off’ as a punishment for staging the paparazzi pictures.
He claimed in a newspaper interview that his daughter looked ‘terrified’ in her new role and that she wore a ‘pained smile’.
And in another explosive interview with the MoS last month, Mr Markle said Princess Diana would have ‘loathed’ the way he is being frozen out by the royal family.
Palace aides are said to have held at least three top-level crisis meetings on how to handle the dysfunctional Markle family in PR terms.
In person, Mr Markle is a far cry from his media caricature, which he describes as ‘the weirdo schlubby dad living in a shack in Mexico drinking beer and eating McDonald’s’.
His interview here is only the third he has ever given to a newspaper – and he says it will be his last. He says many reports about him have been ‘made up, spun around and others are outright lies’.
He has lost almost 3st since his heart attack and insists, while he is happy for Meghan, he ‘loathes’ the circus that has come with her falling for a prince.
His rift with Meghan began after his eldest daughter Samantha and son Tom Jr – from his first marriage – made openly critical comments about Meghan.
Samantha attacked her half-sister for failing to pay back her father thousands of dollars he spent on her private education and university fees – but Mr Markle points out he had never asked, nor expected, to be repaid as he felt it was his ‘parental duty’.
‘Meghan asked me to tell Samantha to stop talking about her and then asked me to stop talking to Samantha. I have two daughters. I can’t stop talking to one of them,’ he says with a shrug.
‘No father should be asked to turn his back on their children. I love Meghan but I also love Samantha.’
Mr Markle is keen to erase the image built up by some sections of the media of him as a sad recluse.
He says: ‘I wish Harry and Meghan well but this isn’t going to make or break me. They will remember me when they have a child with my “Markle nose”.
‘I have pictures of Meghan and my other kids all over my house in Mexico. My favourite picture of her is a head-shot I did of her, in closeup, wearing a big hat with gloves pulled all the way up her arms. She’s about 10. And she looks like a little duchess.’
‘I am not sitting here crying. I’m not sitting here being selfpitying. I’m not cashing in on the royal family.
‘I don’t care about the royal family. My daughter is a duchess.
‘I don’t even know what that really means.’