How Meghan Markle Really Feels about Her Father's Tell-All Interview
As one royal insider says, "The knives are out."
It's been pretty much smooth sailing for Meghan Markle since she married Prince Harry and became Duchess of Sussex. She got high marks for her poise (and stylish wardrobe) for her first appearances with the royal family and was even asked by Queen Elizabeth II to join her on her first solo outing last week with Her Majesty. By comparison, that was something Kate Middleton didn't do until she was with "The Firm" for a solid year.
Except for the rare misstep at the wedding this weekend of Princess Diana's niece, Celia McCorquodale—where Meghan wore a floor-length, much-too-big Oscar de la Renta dress that clearly overwhelmed her, and also nearly took a tumble in sky-high stilettos—she's been on solid ground.
Then her father, Thomas Markle, decided to give a television interview—for which he was paid "a few thousand pounds"—to Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. The 73-year-old former lighting director unleashed a slew of embarrassing and outrageous remarks that have greatly upset his daughter—and the royal family—anew.
"Meghan does not understand why her father is doing all this," said one friend. "She is trying so hard to fit in and adapt to this very new way of life and she was once again blindsided by a father who supposedly cares about her and doesn't want to embarrass her. Given the media circus surrounding her father's actions before the wedding, Meghan had hoped he would have learned his lesson. She is devastated over this."
Among Thomas's cringe-worthy comments: He gave his permission to Harry to marry his daughter during a phone call last December after exacting an inexplicable promise from the prince that he "will never raise [a] hand against my daughter." He also claimed Harry confided in him that he is "open to Brexit" and said U.S. President Donald Trump should be "given a chance."
Thomas, you may recall, threw his daughter's wedding into chaos when it was revealed he staged fake paparazzi photos of himself seemingly getting ready to attend the royal wedding. He was confirmed to walk Meghan down the aisle, but after the scandal broke he backed out and then later said he wasn't going because he'd had a heart attack the week before. In the interview, Thomas told Morgan that his daughter sobbed when he told her of his decision. At the time, it was too late to change The Order of Service for the ceremony, which had already been printed. Thomas' name in the book given to the congregation was an embarrassing reminder of the events that had taken place in the days leading up to the wedding.
"That was a mistake," he said Monday of his decision to do photos. He explained his decision by saying photos were an attempt to "change my image" adding, "I thought it would be a nice way of improving my look. Well, obviously that all went [wrong]. I feel bad about it. I apologized for it."
Two days before the wedding, Meghan issued an unprecedented statement confirming her father would not attend. The bride-to-be walked unaccompanied down the aisle at St. George's Chapel and Prince Charles met her half-way and escorted her to the altar. Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, was the only family member to attend the wedding. Thomas also said he was "jealous but grateful" to Charles for taking his place at the last minute. He also revealed the couple was "very forgiving" about the incident.
But that might not be the case this time.
The new explosive interview is sure to upset both Kensington and Buckingham Palaces because they were not told in advance, and the paid interview renews fears that Meghan's family will be a continual source of embarrassment to the royal family and an unwelcome distraction. "The Palace is upset because they realize Mr. Markle is a loose cannon that cannot be controlled," one royal insider told me. "There is potential political fallout over Mr. Markle's claims about Prince Harry's supposed views on two very controversial topics. The royal family generally believe silence is best when outrageous claims are made, but this time, their hand might be forced to issue a statement. This is deeply upsetting for the newlyweds and the Queen."
Incredibly, Thomas seemed completely unaware that by continuing to talk to the press without first at least alerting his daughter, he is undoubtedly damaging their already strained relationship. "I would love to meet the Queen. I've had respect for that woman since I was a child," he told Morgan. "I think she is one of the most incredible women in the world and I would love to meet her."
Morgan has also ruined whatever relationship he had with the newly minted Duchess by conducting the interview, according to a friend of the former actress who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Meghan had a casual friendship with Piers while she was on Suits," one royal insider said. "She sent him advance DVDs of the show. They texted each other and [even] met up for a drink once. She was shocked when he talked to the press about how she supposedly 'dropped him' when she met Harry. They weren't dating and were merely acquaintances. His remarks before the wedding to the press about her very much calls into question his motives for doing this interview."
My palace source told me, "Harry did his best to prepare Meghan for what to expect from the media as a member of the royal family, but it's impossible. Her experience as an actress on a popular nighttime soap pales in comparison. The knives are out and, sadly, most of them appear to be coming from her own family."
And for some positive light about Meghan's family, don't miss these 15 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Meghan Markle's Mom.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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