Who is Meghan Markle's dad Thomas and why did they fall out?

8 March 2021, 00:00

Thomas Markle is Meghan's biological father
Thomas Markle is Meghan's biological father. Picture: ITV/CBS

What was Meghan Markle’s letter to her dad and why do they not speak?

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry recently recorded a tell-all interview with Oprah which is airing on March 7 in the US.

And it’s thought Meghan will address her fall out with dad Thomas and half sister Samantha for the first time during the two hour chat.

But who is Thomas Markle and why did he fall out with Meghan? Here’s what we know…

Who is Meghan Markle’s dad?

Thomas Markle married Meghan’s mum Doria in 1979 and they had Meghan two years later.

The former couple divorced when their daughter was six-years-old.

Thomas is also father to his two eldest children, Thomas Junior and Samantha, from his marriage to ex-wife Roslyn.

Meghan’s father previously worked as an Emmy Award-winning lighting director but he retired in 2012.

Read More: Meghan Markle makes sweet tribute to Princess Diana with diamond bracelet for Oprah interview

When Meghan landed her role on Suits, she left her life in Los Angeles for eight months of the year to film in Canada.

While Meghan's estranged half-siblings accuse her of abandoning the family, it is thought she kept in touch with her father and he said she would regularly send him letters.

Before the Duchess of Sussex got engaged to Prince Harry, Thomas also said the couple had called him on the phone to ask for her hand and he had happily agreed.

Following their engagement, Thomas did a number of TV interviews and was also pictured preparing for the big day.

Paparazzi photos saw him in a coffee shop in the Mexican town he lives in, reading a book called Images of Great Britain: A Pictorial Tour Through History, as well as getting measured by a tailor.

Meghan’s half-sister Samantha later admitted that she was responsible for staging the photos, Tweeting at the time: “The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault.

"The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the Royal Family. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money @KensingtonRoyal.”

In 2018, it was revealed Thomas had suffered a heart attack and would be unable to make it to his daughter’s wedding.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged in November 2017
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged in November 2017. Picture: PA Images

Thomas told the Daily Mail in August 2018 that Prince Harry called him after he had his heart attack.

Meghan also released a statement at the time which read: "Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.

“I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

In June 2018, Thomas gave an interview to Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain which reportedly caused a rift with the Royal Family.

Thomas later told TMZ: “I was silent for a full year and the press beat me up every day saying I was a hermit hiding in Mexico, so I gave my story [to Good Morning Britain].

“Apparently that interview put the Royal Family in their silence mode... so I gave another interview to break the silence. All they have to do is speak to me.”

In December the same year, Thomas claimed he had not spoken to his daughter since her wedding back in May.

What was Meghan Markle’s letter to her dad?

The Duchess of Sussex bought legal action against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) after they published extracts from a handwritten letter from Meghan to her father.

The five page letter was sent in August 2018 following her wedding to Prince Harry and was published in an article with the title: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed baby Archie in May 2019
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed baby Archie in May 2019. Picture: PA Images

Mr Justice Warby ruled that Meghan had a "reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private".

He said: "It was, in short, a personal and private letter.

"The majority of what was published was about the claimant's own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father's behaviour - as she saw it - and the resulting rift between them."

In a statement following the ruling, Meghan released a statement in which she said she was grateful to the court for holding ANL account "for their illegal and dehumanising practices".

She said: "For these outlets, it's a game. For me and so many others, it's real life, real relationships, and very real sadness," she said.

"The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep."