In addition to answering questions about her relationship with the royal family, Meghan Markle addressed her falling out with her estranged father, Thomas Markle, during her and Prince Harry’s tell-all CBS interview on Sunday, March 7.
The 39-year-old Suits alum, who is pregnant with baby No. 2, talked about the “very clear directive” she had been given “from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say, ‘No comment.’ That’s my friends, my mom and dad.”
But the plan to not talk to the press went horribly wrong days before the couple’s 2018 wedding when Meghan’s father, 76, was caught up in a paparazzi photo scandal. Thomas subsequently didn’t attend the nuptials or walk his daughter down the aisle amid the controversy and his alleged health issues. After skipping the wedding, he repeatedly slammed the royal family in the press, once comparing his daughter’s in-laws to a “cult.” Meghan and her father no longer speak.
As Harry and Meghan look forward to welcoming a baby girl in the summer after a miscarriage last year, the Duchess of Sussex candidly looked back on the turmoil of the last few years.
“I grieve a lot,” she said on Sunday. “I mean, I’ve lost my father. I lost a baby. I nearly lost my name. I mean, there’s the loss of identity. But I’m still standing, and my hope for people in the takeaway from this is to know that there’s another side.”
But the reminders of her estrangement from her father remain. In October 2019, a private letter that Meghan had written to Thomas amid their troubles was published by the Mail on Sunday. The duchess subsequently filed a lawsuit against the outlet. In the docs, her lawyers wrote that the “letter was written at a time of great personal anguish and distress” and included “her intimate thoughts and feelings about her father’s health and her relationship with him at that time.” The suit was settled earlier this month.
“For over a year, the U.K. tabloids were trying to find my dad, offering people so much money to try to find his address. Once they did, I remember being told there was a huge headline like, ‘We Found Him!’ or ‘We Got Him!’” Meghan said in a bonus clip from Sunday’s interview, which aired on CBS This Morning on Monday, March 8. “The whole thing brings us to where we are today.”
The former actress went on to detail her dad’s paparazzi scandal and how he “wasn’t able” to tell her the truth about it when she confronted him.
“That, for me, has really resonated, especially now as a mother,” she added. “And also me saying just full stop, ‘If we use this to protect you, we won’t be able to protect our own children one day, well, I’m talking about your grandchildren. … I look at Archie, I think about this child and … I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child. I can’t imagine it. So it’s hard for me to reconcile that.”
When Meghan and Harry announced their decision to step back from their roles working for Queen Elizabeth II in January 2020, Thomas changed his tune when it came to the royals.
“I’ll just simply say I’m disappointed,” he told Us Weekly exclusively at the time about his daughter’s decision.
Meghan also has a strained relationship with her half-sister, Samantha Markle. In addition to comparing Meghan to “Cruella de Vil” in August 2018, Samantha has publicly sided with their dad and shaded the couple’s royal exit.
“I think what is shocking is the lack of consideration for the people involved, the British royal family, the promises that were originally made to honor royal duties and to lead by example,” Samantha told Inside Edition in 2020. “They stepped into the spotlight knowing what the duties were, knowing what the media would be like for them. If she wanted to be so private, she wouldn’t have sat at Wimbledon with 40 empty seats around her.”
Samantha released a book, The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister Part 1, in February 2021. In addition to sharing alleged stories about their childhood, she claimed that Meghan “changed” when she met Harry.
Is Prince Harry refusing to mend relationships with the Royal Family? Us Weekly editors dish the details with True Royalty TV Editor-in-Chief Nick Bullen.