I REALISE I’m adding fuel to the fire here by even typing these words, but I’m begging the British media to stop giving Thomas Markle airtime.
Desist now, before we have to suffer the ‘monthly interview’ he’s threatening to inflict on the world until Meghan decides to speak to him – which she won’t.
What does he want? Money? Vindication? If so, for what? He plays the victim well, but it seems to me there’s a weird power-trip going on here – ordinary American guy takes on the British Establishment. If he really cared about his daughter and grandson as much as he professes, he would zip it.
The Queen herself only gives one televised public address a year, at Christmas. He should follow her example and keep his bitterness private. And while he’s about it, he might also look towards his former wife and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, whose views on her daughter’s marriage and subsequent return to North America remain resolutely opaque.
It is clear that Mr Markle is hurting and confused, but he makes an already difficult situation much worse every time he opens his mouth. At first, I felt rather sorry for him. I know enough about families to understand that a wedding often puts noses out of joint. I started to watch the Channel 5 interview, Thomas Markle: My Story, with an open mind.
It can’t be easy, living in quiet retirement in Mexico and suddenly finding cameras and microphones at your door. Who would know how to cope, when the world’s media wants to know how it feels to become the father-in-law of a prince? He was left high and dry to be honest.
I’ve long thought that the Royals, despite employing a retinue of experienced and well-paid PR advisors, missed a trick from the start. Way before that Windsor wedding even took place, an advisor or two should have been despatched to Mr Markle’s cliff-top house to prepare him for the international interest in his actress daughter.
The fact that this didn’t happen suggests a kind of haughty insouciance – even naivety – on the part of the Royal household, but it’s too late to do anything about that now. Instead, the retired Hollywood lighting director was left to fend for himself.
Those notoriously staged paparazzi photographs were a nadir; was it because he was unwary or for the money he says he was promised as part of the deal?
If Mr Markle really cared as much as he says he does, he would retreat with dignity before he causes even more damage to his own already fractured familial relationships and also to the British Royal Family, which has enough self-inflicted troubles of its own.
Her Majesty is renowned for never giving her feelings away. And whilst this reticence has been criticised, it is surely preferable to the endless babble of bile coming from the other side of the Atlantic.
What must she and, indeed, the Prince of Wales think when 75-year-old Markle goes on Good Morning Britain and tells Prince Harry to “man up”. Not only has the Queen’s beloved grandson exiled himself from her, the rest of his family and the United Kingdom, she now has to contend with his father-in-law calling him ‘whipped’.
It’s no laughing matter, really, but do you think that she had to ask a courtier to explain what this actually means? Should you be equally confused, or concerned, it’s a rude term used by a man to describe another man whom he considers to have fallen under the thumb of, shall we say, feminine guile. To save you further embarrassment, I won’t go any further. Look it up.
I’m just shocked that an elderly grandfather would use such a derogative to describe his own daughter in public. If my father said that about me – he wouldn’t dream of it, by the way – I wouldn’t speak to him again either. A wise person once told me that whatever the public image, no-one really knows what goes on in a marriage. And so it is in a family.
There is no doubt there’s much we don’t know about the history of Thomas Markle and his daughter, who remains the Duchess of Sussex and the mother of a child who is seventh in the line of succession to the British throne.
And frankly, we really don’t need to know. All I can conclude from the hellish triangle of Thomas, Harry and Meghan is the one thing they have in common is that recent events have damaged them all.
What they should now do is step back and realise the damage their toxic dynamic is inflicting on the one person who can’t speak up for himself – Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.