Harry and Meghan, the duke and duchess of Sussex have had to hold their breaths for yet another Thomas Markle royal world exclusive. The father-in-law of Britain’s sixth-in-line to the throne said Prince Harry had told him to give US President Donald Trump a chance and had also said he had an open mind about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Markle missed last month’s wedding of Harry to his daughter Meghan, a former American actress, because he had to undergo heart surgery but in his first broadcast interview since the glittering ceremony divulged details of conversations he had held with his royal in-law in private.
“I was complaining I didn’t like Donald Trump. He said ‘give Donald Trump a chance’. I sort of disagreed with that, but I still like Harry,” Markle told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in his first broadcast interview since the royal wedding.
Markle, 73, said he had spoken to Harry by phone in the months leading up to the wedding when the prince had told him that he was “open to the experiment” of Brexit. Under Britain’s unwritten constitution, British royals are expected to refrain from expressing any public views on politics or politicians.
Kensington Palace has declined to comment on the interview, though the statements by Meghan’s father may embarrass the royal family whose senior members strictly observe a politically neutral stance.
In the days leading up to the 19 May wedding of Meghan, 36, and Harry, 33, Markle gave a flurry of sometimes contradictory statements to an American news website about whether he would attend.
Markle spoke of his regret that he was not well enough to walk his daughter down the aisle as she married Prince Harry, but said he was pleased that Harry’s father, Prince Charles, was able to step in at the last minute confessing “the unfortunate thing for me now is that I’m a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history, rather than the dad walking her down the aisle”.
Markle had been due to take part in the ceremony, and said that he had even started working on his speech but he eventually stayed away, after tabloid reports emerged claiming he had staged paparazzi shots for cash. “I thought that would be a nice way of improving my look. Well obviously that all went to hell,” he said.
In the end, Meghan walked down the first part of the aisle unescorted, before she was joined by Charles, Harry’s father and heir-to-the-throne.
NEVER RAISE YOUR HANDS AGAINST MY DAUGHTER
A former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, Markle said that he was sad to have missed the ceremony, but also proud of his daughter and grateful to Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son Charles for stepping in.
“I was honoured. I can’t think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles,” he said.
“I was thrilled to tears that he was doing that for me. I just wish it had been my hand holding my daughter, not his. But he was wonderful to them.”
Meghan’s parents are divorced and while mother Doria Ragland, 61, has met Harry and attended the wedding, her father has yet to meet the prince. However, Markle said that Harry had rung him to seek his permission to marry Meghan, former star of legal TV drama Suits, and that he was very likeable. He disclosed he warned him never to raise his hands against his daughter.
“He’s great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter’s been a princess since the day she was born,” he said.
Markle said that as well as Harry, he would one day like to meet the queen.
“I have had respect for that woman since I was a child,” he said. “She is one of the most incredible women in the world and I would love to meet her.”