MEGHAN WOULDN’T LET ME MAKE A SPEECH
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