Meghan dad: I hung up on rude Harry

HURT, AN­GRY & PER­PLEXED: IN­CEN­DI­ARY IN­TER­VIEW THAT WILL ROCK THE ROYALS

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Caro­line Gra­ham

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.’

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