Inside Meghan Markle and father Thomas Markle's 'fractured' relationship
19 January 2020, 18:05
The Duchess of Sussex used to share a close bond with her dad, but now he's estranged from his once beloved daughter.
Meghan Markle's family were catapulted into the spotlight when she first began dating Prince Harry.
And despite the close bond that used to exist between the Duchess of Sussex and her father Thomas Markle, the two have since fallen out – but what actually happened?
Here, we look at why Meghan's dad didn't walk her down the aisle, whether he set up staged paparazzi photos and the shocking reasons behind their rows.
Does Meghan still speak to her dad Thomas Markle?
In December 2018, during an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, Thomas accused his daughter of "ghosting" him.
He revealed live on TV that the Duchess of Sussex had been ignoring his texts ever since she married Prince Harry, despite the fact he had been messaging her every day.
At the time, he told cameras: "I love you very much, you're my daughter and I would really like to hear from you.
"Whatever differences we have, we should be able to work them out."
However, Thomas has since admitted he believes their relationship is beyond repair.
He said: “I can't see her reaching out to me, especially now, and in light of what I'm saying now she probably won't, or Harry for that matter.
“But I think both of them are turning into lost souls at this point.
“I don't know what they're looking for.“I don't think they know what they are looking for.”
Did Thomas Markle stage paparazzi photos?
Thomas Markle was involved in controversy on the run-up to Meghan and Prince Harry's 2018 wedding.
The father-of-three admitted to staging paparazzi photos for publicity, posing for fake snaps that were then sold to newspapers all around the world.
His daughter Samantha Markle explained the cinematographer was desperate to "rehabilitate" his image but he has since confessed the snaps looked "stupid and hammy".
Reports say he made around $100,000, splitting it with British photographer Jeff Rayner, although he now says he "deeply regrets" the decision.
Speaking from San Diego, he told Good Morning Britain: "For that incident I've apologised 100 times - I don't feel that's worthy of being shunned or ghosted, that's ridiculous."
Why wasn't Thomas Markle at the Royal Wedding?
The Duchess of Sussex's biological father didn't make it to the Royal Wedding in 2018 to walk his daughter down the aisle.
In light of the reports that Thomas staged paparazzi photos for money, Thomas confessed he thought it was best not escort Meghan down the aisle as he didn't want to "embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter".
In addition to this, the retired cinematographer shared that he had also suffered a heart attack.
At the time, Kensington Palace released a statement from Meghan that said: "Sadly, my father will not be attending out wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."
What has Thomas Markle said about 'Mexit'?
Meghan's estranged dad has slammed his daughter and her husband Prince Harry's decision to step away from the Royal Family.
He told a TV crew that he thinks their behaviour is "embarrassing" and that they are "cheapening" the monarchy.
In his new Channel 5 documentary, Thomas Markle: My Story, the 75-year-old was very vocal about the royal news.
He said: “'When they got married they took on an obligation, and the obligation is to be part of the Royals and to represent the Royals. And it would be foolish for them not to.
"This is one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, making it shabby… they shouldn't be doing this."
What has Meghan Markle said about her dad?
Meghan has remained tight-lipped about her deteriorating relationship with her father, however last autumn she told the press she was suing a British newspaper for unlawfully publishing a private letter she had sent to Thomas Markle.
In the note, she accused her dad of breaking her heart “into a million pieces” and leaving her "worried, confused, shocked and absolutely blindsided" by his actions before her wedding day.
However, in the past, the Duchess has spoken fondly of her now estranged family member.
On Father's Day 2016, she reportedly shared a loving post next to a photo of the two of them, writing: "Happy Father's Day, daddy. I'm still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world.
"Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose. I love you xo -Bean."