The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - From Caro­line Gra­ham

AS his daugh­ter Meghan walked down the aisle on the arm of Prince Charles, amid the pomp and pageantry of St Ge­orge’s Chapel, Wind­sor, Thomas Markle, re­cov­er­ing from a heart at­tack, was more than 8,000km away.

In­stead of proudly giv­ing Meghan away as she mar­ried into Bri­tain’s Royal Fam­ily, Mr Markle was forced to watch on TV in a mod­est rented flat in San Diego, which he refers to as a ‘safe house’.

Shortly be­fore, he was re­duced to scram­bling across a build­ing site be­hind the hos­pi­tal to evade pa­parazzi pho­tog­ra­phers and TV news crews.

The in­dig­nity of his sit­u­a­tion re­flected what he saw as the glar­ing dis­par­ity between the way he had been treated and Buck­ing­ham

‘Meghan is moth­erly. She’ll nur­ture Harry’

Palace’s at­ti­tude to­wards his for­mer wife Do­ria Ragland.

He and Do­ria, a yoga teacher, di­vorced am­i­ca­bly when Meghan was six, but they re­mained on close terms for the sake of their daugh­ter. Yet Do­ria was the only mem­ber of Meghan’s im­me­di­ate fam­ily to at­tend the wed­ding in May.

In­cred­i­bly, when the en­gage­ment was an­nounced in March, he claimed that two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the British con­sul in Los An­ge­les ar­rived at Do­ria’s home to present her with an of­fi­cial scroll bear­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth’s for­mal an­nounce­ment. The let­ter, in its ar­chaic style, read: ‘My Lords, I de­clare My Con­sent to a Con­tract of Mat­ri­mony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grand­son Prince Henry Charles Al­bert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle.’

Yet the bride’s fa­ther was af­forded no such cour­tesy. ‘No one came to my door in Mex­ico,’ said Mr Markle. ‘I would have liked the en­gage­ment an­nounce­ment too.’

And in an as­ton­ish­ing over­sight, he says he was never even sent one of the 600 or­nate for­mal wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions.

The spe­cially com­mis­sioned in­vi­ta­tions used Amer­i­can ink on English card, and were is­sued un­der Prince Charles’s name, with his heraldic os­trich feath­ers emerg­ing from a gold coro­net at the top.

Mr Markle said: ‘I never got a wed­ding in­vi­ta­tion. At first I thought, “That’s OK, be­cause I’m part of the wed­ding”, but I would have loved to have had an in­vi­ta­tion to put in a frame.

‘I asked Meghan to send in­vi­ta­tions to all my fam­ily. I told her they wouldn’t be able to come be­cause they would never be able to af­ford the flight but that it would be a nice ges­ture on her part. Of course that didn’t hap­pen.’

More up­set­ting still, he says that when he told Prince Harry on the phone that he would ‘like to make a lit­tle speech’, the prince re­sponded: ‘You will have to talk to Meghan.’

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Markle, when he spoke to his daugh­ter, she replied there was ‘no room’ in the cer­e­mony for a speech by her fa­ther.

Mr Markle says: ‘I was go­ing to recount the funny story about how she broke the news to me about dat­ing Harry: “Daddy, I’ve met a man… Daddy, he’s English… Daddy, he’s a prince.” I thought it was a cute story. Like any fa­ther I wanted to say a few words. I was go­ing to thank the Royal Fam­ily for wel­com­ing my beau­ti­ful daugh­ter into their fam­ily. But it was a speech that I was never go­ing to be al­lowed to give. That hurt.’

There was room on the day, how­ever for El­ton John to per­form at the cou­ple’s lunchtime re­cep­tion. One at­tendee said the pop icon ser­e­naded guests with a ren­di­tion of his hit Cir­cle Of Life.

The guests, who in­cluded celebri­ties such as Oprah, the Clooneys, the Beck­hams, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, heard speeches from Meghan, Harry, Prince Charles, Prince Wil­liam and a joint ef­fort from Tom In­skip and Char­lie Van Strauben­zee, two of Harry’s clos­est friends.

In con­trast to Mr Markle, Do­ria was warmly wel­comed by the Royal Fam­ily on the day.

She ap­peared to fight back tears as she took her seat in St Ge­orge’s Chapel af­ter ac­com­pa­ny­ing her daugh­ter from Clive­den House, where the pair had stayed the pre­vi­ous night.

De­spite be­ing snubbed, Mr Markle wishes his daugh­ter and Harry all the best and says he be­lieves Meghan is a ‘moth­erly’ wife who will nur­ture Harry.

‘She was the same with Trevor [En­gel­son, her first hus­band]. Meghan is very ma­ter­nal by na­ture. She loves to cook and she will mother Harry. He’s eat­ing prop­erly now, he’s dress­ing the way she wants him to. All men need that.’

‘OVER­SIGHT’: Just mar­ried Harry and Meghan wave to the crowds and, right, Meghan’s mother Do­ria at the wed­ding in May

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