Meghan’s dad reveals intimate photos
The Duchess of Sussex's father, Thomas Markle, has revealed his side of the story in a tell-all documentary about Prince Harry and Meghan.
Mr Markle, 75, told British broadcaster Channel 5 he did not recognise his daughter anymore, while also sharing never seen before photos of the duchess as a young girl.
The interview was conducted over six days in north west Mexico in October last year, as well as a separate interview more recently after Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting as senior members of the royal family earlier this month.
"I want everyone to know that I'm not all the trashy things that are being said about me," he said. "To them I don't exist.
"Meghan was my most important relationship and my pride and joy. I miss Meghan. I miss the way she was. I don't know who she is now."
THOMAS REVEALS NEW PHOTOS
The 90-minute documentary titled Thomas Markle: My Story has just aired in the UK on Wednesday evening local time, and covers the fallout between the father and daughter that occurred ahead of the royal wedding in May 2018.
Mr Markle revealed intimate home videos shot of a young Meghan from when she moved to live with her father at age 11 in Los Angeles.
Videos from May 1993 show a young Meghan learning to work a camera, fishing and riding a horse.
He described the years she lived with him between age 11 and 16 as "my happiest years."
Mr Markle said Meghan was born by C-section so he got to "hold her first", saying she became the "most special thing in my life"
"When she was born I couldn't have been a happier man," he said.
"I was just knocked out by that child. She was just beautiful and I couldn't put her down.
"I loved her very much … Still do."
He showed photos of a young Meghan on a park bench eating ice cream, as well as pictures of her as a baby being held by her mother, Doria Ragland, who she still shares a close relationship with.
THOMAS OPENS UP ON LEAD UP TO WEDDING
Meghan's dad also opened up about what happened ahead of the royal wedding in May 2018.
He was infamously outed accepting money for set-up paparazzi shots in the lead up, which is said to be the cause of their divide.
Mr Markle said after months of unfavourable paparazzi photos of himself, he was tired of being made to look like an idiot.
"Every paper seemed to make me want to look like a dumb fat slob. I bought a new toilet … and the joke was that this was my throne," he said, adding that he was later approached by a man who said he could "make him look respectable".
The results were pictures splashed on front pages around the world of Mr Markle exercising, reading up on British castles in a cafe and getting measured for a suit.
"I was feeling that this was very hokey and hammy but he (the photographer) kept saying 'you've got to trust me, I've done this 100 times, this will work for you'," he said.
They also went to an internet cafe where he was pictured looking at engagement pictures of Meghan and Harry online. However CCTV footage showing him colluding with the photographer was later obtained by the Daily Mail and his secret was out.
A week before the wedding, Kensington Palace was given advance warning of the scandal. But Mr Markle lied to Meghan and Harry when they asked if he had posed for pictures.
In an ironic twist, he admitted he was still making 30 per cent of sales off the embarrassing pictures.
"Meghan and Harry said they would protect me. Their protection was saying 'don't talk to anyone'," Mr Markle said.
"The royal family never sent anyone here to give me advice or do anything for me. I thought the natural thing would be to give me some kind of advice or guidance … Not that I need the attention but I might need the help.
"Harry knowing what his mother went through, should be really concerned about what's happening to me … He must have had some idea what I was going through.
"Just to say 'don't' talk to anybody' I have to say I'm very offended by that."
MEGHAN TELLS DAD SHE'S 'DATING A PRINCE'
Mr Markle retold the moment that Meghan phoned him out of the blue to say she had a new boyfriend who was a Prince - Prince Harry, to be exact - and the pair spoke about it on the phone for a few minutes.
"She was happy and that made me happy. But very shortly after the press started looking for me," he added.
Mr Markle also described his daughter's rise in Hollywood, from her being "embarrassed" to be on Deal or No Deal, to scoring a prime role in Suits in 2011 which she had described as "the dream".
He said she had given him gifts of money, which the pair had rowed over in the past.
MEGHAN'S MUM 'GOING THROUGH TROUBLE'
Mr Markle said when he was married to Doria a lot of people thought "she was the housekeeper" which "wasn't fair" because she was black.
On that note, he said he thought she was "going through the same trouble with the royals".
"She always looks scared. She looks like the deer in the headlights.
"The idea at the wedding, sitting her alone was the dumbest thing on earth."
MEGHAN'S DRAMA TEACHER SPEAKS
The ex Suits actress' former drama teacher Gigi Perreau was also interviewed, saying she was "extremely proud of Meghan".
When asked if she thought her former student would miss acting, she said: "All I can do is laugh. Are you kidding? She's got the biggest acting job of any human being in the world. From the moment she wakes up in the morning until that door closes … She's out there being the Duchess of Sussex and that's a big role. That's a huge role."
'THEY ARE DESTROYING THE ROYALS'
Excerpts released ahead of the documentary showed Mr Markle saying Meghan was "tossing away" "every girl's dream".
"Every young girl wants to become a princess and she got that and now she's tossing that away, for, it looks like she's tossing that away for money."
"This is like one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, they're making it shabby … They are turning it into a Walmart with a crown of it now."
He also apologised to the Queen for not attending and said he was not the "trashy" person he had been made out to be.
Meghan's half-brother Thomas Jr, 53, was also interviewed saying his sister needed to "look out for her family" who "don't have millions in the bank like her and Harry."
In early January Meghan and Harry dropped a new year bombshell announcing they intended to "step back" as senior royals and carve out a "progressive new role" in the royal family.
The announcement was made with little warning and blindsided Buckingham Palace officials, who were left scrambling for a response to the couple's decision.
Ten days later after a crisis meeting at the Queen's Sandringham home with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry in attendance, a second announcement was made detailing terms of the Megxit.
Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH titles or receive public funds for duties. They will also pay back public money spent on a $4.5 million renovation to their Frogmore Cottage home and pay a commercial rent for the property.
In exchange, they will have the freedom to sign commercial deals without palace oversight and be able to spend part of their time in Canada. This week, their adjustment to civilian life got off to a rocky start after the couple issued a legal warning over pictures taken of Meghan out walking with Archie and her two dogs in a Canadian Park.
The Markle family have been a source of tabloid headlines and commentary in Britain ever since Meghan's entry into the royal family.
The lead up to the couple's wedding in May 2018 was dominated by fallout from staged paparazzi pictures conducted by her father, followed by the news he would be unable to travel to the wedding after he had a heart attack.
Now, the father and daughter could face-off in court in a case Meghan filed against the Mail on Sunday after it published the contents of a private letter she wrote to her father.