Meghan Finally Broke Her Silence on Her Sad Relationship With Her Father
The duchess talked about her dad, Thomas Markle, for the first time since her 2018 wedding.
During their two-hour interview on Sunday, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan let their long withheld feelings known on virtually every aspect of their lives during their brief time as senior royals. In the no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, a sympathetic but curious ear who clearly made the duke and duchess feel comfortable, the couple expressed some sad and downright horrifying revelations that could prove to be the biggest crisis the British monarchy has faced since the abdication of 1936. It was expected the couple would talk about their contentious and complicated relationship with the royals, but Meghan was also surprisingly forthcoming about her relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, speaking out about him for the first time since her 2018 wedding. Read on to find out what she said, and for more on the fallout from the tell-all, check out The 2 Reasons Harry and William May Never Reconcile Now, Insiders Say.
Meghan told Oprah that in becoming a royal, she's "lost [her] father."
Meghan referenced her grief over her fractured relationship with her father when Oprah asked what she anticipated the royals' reaction would be to the interview and what price she and Harry may have to pay for going public with so many explosive claims.
"If that comes with the risk of losing things, I mean, I've lost… there's a lot that's been lost already," said Meghan. "I've lost my father, I lost a baby, I nearly lost my name. But I'm still standing. And my hope for people in the takeaway from this is to know that there's another side to know that life is worth living." And for more on what Meghan regrets about her time as a royal, check out Meghan Markle Just Said This Is Her One Regret About Royal Life.
She referred to what her father did as "betrayal."
Thomas Markle began making headlines in the run-up to the royal wedding when he cooperated with the paparazzi by posing for staged shots showing how he was supposedly preparing for his daughter's nuptials. He then caused an even bigger crisis for Meghan and Harry when he made a last-minute announcement he wasn't able to attend the wedding because he'd had a heart attack.
Oprah asked if it felt like a "betrayal" when she found out her dad was working with the media. "I'm trying to decide if I'm comfortable even talking about that," said Meghan.
After a few moments, the duchess added, "It was… if we were going to use the word betrayal, it's because when I asked him, when we were told by the comms team, 'This is a story that was going to be coming out,'" she recalled. "By the way, the tabloids had apparently known for a month or so and decided to hold until the Sunday before our wedding because they wanted to create drama, which is also a really key point in all this." And for more royals news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
She said her father was given the opportunity to come forward, but didn't.
Meghan said her father had the opportunity to admit to her what had happened, but chose not to. The duchess recounted to Oprah that she said to her father at the time, "If you tell me the truth, we can help." But, she said, "He wasn't able to do that. And that for me has really resonated, especially now as a mother."
Meghan's father has done several print and television interviews where he has alternately pled with his daughter to reconnect with him and publicly criticized her when it didn't happen. In recent months, he made news over the privacy and copyright infringement case over a letter Meghan wrote to him after her wedding that he, in turn, gave to the Mail on Sunday, which printed excerpts of the handwritten missive in Feb. 2019. Last month, the duchess won her lawsuit against the publishers after a British judge ruled in her favor. And for more revelations from the Sussexes' interview, check out Harry Remains Close to This One Royal Despite All the Drama.
Meghan also hinted at the ulterior motives of her half-sister.
Oprah also asked the duchess about her relationship with her half-sister, Thomas Markle's oldest daughter, Samantha Markle, who has written a tell-all about Meghan, despite not having seen the duchess in almost 19 years. She said it is a "very different situation" than the one with her father. "I think it'd be very hard to tell all when you don't know me," Meghan said of the book. She declined to go into further detail, telling Oprah, "I don't feel comfortable talking about people that I really don't know."
The duchess also noted that Samantha, who had been known as Samantha Grant (and was born Yvonne Markle), changed her last name back to Markle around the time Meghan began dating Harry. "So, I think that says enough," she added. And for more revelations from Meghan's tell-all, check out Meghan Markle Revealed the Truth About Her "Feud" With Kate Middleton.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.