Man up, Harry and heal this rift...be­fore it’s too late

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By TINA WEAVER

LIKE a wounded bear, Thomas Markle lurches be­tween pain and anger. His only balm the ten­der words he reads over and over again. The fa­mil­iar voice of his beloved daugh­ter call­ing out from be­tween the lines of her im­mac­u­late hand­writ­ten script. ‘Daddy, I don’t ex­press as of­ten as I should how much you mean to me,’ writes Meghan. ‘Ev­ery­thing you do for me has turned me into who I am and I am so grate­ful.’

In one of the last notes she sent, just months be­fore she met Prince Harry, Meghan signed off: ‘I love you with all of my heart now and for­ever. Love Bean’ – her child­hood nick­name.

Each heart­felt word re­veals the true sen­ti­ments of a de­voted daugh­ter. Meghan’s love for Thomas Markle is as plain as day.

Yet to­day he is a pariah. At 74, in fail­ing health in his twi­light years, he is spend­ing Christ­mas os­tracised by his daugh­ter. Heart­bro­ken, cut off and cast out into the cold by an an­gry and in­dig­nant Meghan.

The irony will be lost on the new Duchess of Sus­sex, as she fine-tunes her favoured phil­an­thropic causes, that char­ity, as the say­ing goes, should be­gin at home. But to her, Thomas has be­come an em­bar­rass­ment and a rolling pub­lic hu­mil­i­a­tion.

Un­able to man­age and con­trol him, she has pulled up the draw­bridge. Be­hind the cas­tle walls she will not – can­not – be reached. While Thomas feels wounded, Meghan feels be­trayed. She is un­will­ing to climb down from the bat­tle­ments. Meghan’s Royal am­bi­tion is leav­ing a large and un­tidy wake.

She has in the past been ac­cused of us­ing peo­ple and then quickly mov­ing on up the lad­der, never look­ing back.

It may be harsh to say she’s ‘ghost­ing’ her fa­ther – the fash­ion­able term used when some­one cuts off all com­mu­ni­ca­tion with­out warn­ing or ex­pla­na­tion. Thomas prefers to de­scribe her be­hav­iour as ‘act­ing up’. But what’s cer­tain is that she has ap­proached her new Royal life at full tilt, head down, pow­er­ing through.

As Thomas says: ‘She was a con­trol freak but never in a bad way – she was al­ways sweet and kind.’

Meghan’s mar­riage to Prince Harry wasn’t sim­ply fall­ing in love – al­though that was the main im­pe­tus – it was a life trans­for­ma­tion of unimag­in­able pro­por­tions.

A girl raised in a se­ries of Los An­ge­les apart­ment blocks, who rein­vented her­self as a suc­cess­ful TV ac­tress, is now rein­vent­ing her­self as a princess.

Since join­ing the House of Wind­sor her per­sonal style has got more regal and re­fined. She has made sure so­cial is­sues are front and cen­tre of her pub­lic per­sona, like her high-pro­file cook­book launch to help Gren­fell sur­vivors with mum Do­ria in tow. And, of course, she plays the Royal wife with aplomb, as we have seen on the cou­ple’s daz­zling tour to Aus­tralia and New Zealand. She is, as one source says, ‘putting ev­ery­thing into this’. And as Thomas ob­serves, his per­fec­tion­ist daugh­ter has al­ways liked to mi­cro-man­age her life.

Meghan knew her ar­rival in the Royal cir­cle would be tricky. A di­vorcee, a woman with his­tory, there was al­ways the chance of a dis­grun­tled ex speak­ing out.

What no one ex­pected – and what has re­peat­edly wrong-footed Palace of­fi­cials – is that it would be her im­me­di­ate fam­ily who would prove to be the headache.

While Do­ria has been the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of dis­cre­tion, Meghan views her fa­ther’s me­an­der­ing out­bursts dur­ing this crit­i­cal time as a re­minder of where she came from – not where she’s go­ing. And right now, she finds it un­for­giv­able. A post she shared on her old life­style blog The Tig gives a telling in­sight into how she deals with such ‘neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ences’.

She quoted Por­tuguese life coach José Mi­card Teix­eira, who wrote: ‘I no longer have pa­tience for cer­tain things, not be­cause I’ve be­come ar­ro­gant, but sim­ply be­cause I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what dis­pleases me or hurts me. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.’

This phi­los­o­phy still drives Meghan’s think­ing and has been firmly ap­plied to her fa­ther’s be­hav­iour.

From day one she has ap­peared to play favourites with her par­ents – Do­ria got an of­fi­cial Palace scroll an­nounc­ing their wed­ding, Thomas didn’t. Do­ria was for­mally in­vited to the nup­tials, Thomas wasn’t. And he was very hurt when told he couldn’t make a speech at the re­cep­tion.

In most fam­ily feuds, it takes a third party – a hus­band or part­ner – to in­ter­vene, break the en­trenched po­si­tions and tact­fully sug­gest the of­fer of an olive branch might be the best way for­ward.

Harry should have been that peace­maker. But headstrong, un­worldly and in thrall to his starry, beau­ti­ful wife he did noth­ing to calm the brewing storm.

Rather than re­spect­fully meeting his fa­ther-in-law face to face be­fore the cou­ple’s en­gage­ment was an­nounced, he chose a quick chat on the phone. Harry – or rather

Un­able to con­trol her dad, she’s pulled up the draw­bridge

his ad­vis­ers – had the chance to bring Thomas into the Royal tent be­fore the world even knew Meghan and Harry were a cou­ple. It was a dropped ball that has led us to this point.

When, only days be­fore the wed­ding, Thomas fool­ishly agreed to stunt some pho­to­graphs, Harry was on the phone again, this time to se­verely be­rate him. Thomas, re­cov­er­ing from ur­gent heart surgery and deeply em­bar­rassed by his ac­tions, pulled out of his daugh­ter’s big day. Some Royal in­sid­ers sug­gested he faked the surgery to find an ex­cuse, but, as we re­veal to­day, it ac­tu­ally saved his life.

For Meghan, the joy of her Wind­sor Cas­tle wed­ding shared by the world was a chance to put all the un­pleas­ant­ness be­hind her. She de­cided to take a ‘time out’ from her Dad, but ne­glected to com­mu­ni­cate that to him prop­erly. Once again, he felt hurt and slighted and re­acted an­grily in a live TV in­ter­view.

Right now it’s hard to see Meghan giv­ing ground. Just in prac­ti­cal terms she is heav­ily preg­nant, work­ing with in­te­rior de­sign­ers and armed with swatch fab­ric and paint sam­ples, to re­de­velop the cou­ple’s new home, Frog­more Cot­tage, in time for the spring birth. She won’t be jump­ing on a plane to Mex­ico to make peace with her fa­ther in those cir­cum­stances. But with Thomas in ail­ing health, Harry needs to man up and fix what he in­ad­ver­tently set off in the first place by fail­ing to show Meghan’s fa­ther the nec­es­sary re­spect. Only then will Meghan and her fa­ther be re­united.

Time is a great healer – but time is also some­thing that we can never have enough of. Harry and Prince Wil­liam spoke mov­ingly last year of how they are haunted by their last hur­ried phone call to their mother, Princess Diana, the evening be­fore she died.

They were ea­ger to get off the phone be­cause they were hav­ing such a great time play­ing with their cousins at Bal­moral. Harry said in an in­ter­view: ‘I can’t re­ally nec­es­sar­ily re­mem­ber what I said but all I do re­mem­ber is prob­a­bly re­gret­ting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was.’

It’s a sen­ti­ment we have all felt in one way or an­other. A visit we never made, a call not re­turned, and sud­denly the chance to say what we wanted to say is gone for ever.

Meghan is at heart a good and gen­er­ous woman who is am­bi­tious and could be crit­i­cal in the rein­ven­tion of the Royal Fam­ily for an­other gen­er­a­tion.

But what she can­not be is for­ever cast as the cru­elly un­for­giv­ing daugh­ter of a heart­bro­ken and lonely old man.

And Harry holds the key to mak­ing sure that doesn’t hap­pen – be­fore it’s too late.

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