MEGHAN’S FATHER, Thomas Markle, was the one who withdrew from her in the lead up to her wedding to Prince Harry, not the other way around, according to a new book about the royal couple.
In Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand detail the breakdown of communication between the Duchess of Sussex and her father.
The book charts some of the numerous attempts Meghan and Harry made to repair the relationship they each had with Thomas, and to ensure he was supported.
The royal wedding
The night before her wedding, Meghan sent her father a “barrage of voicemails and texts” but he had not responded to a single message, and despite a car being sent to take him to the airport, he refused to get in, the book claims.
Durand and Scobie write that Meghan was worried after not hearing from her father and that she and Harry were informed of his decision to not attend their wedding through the tabloid press and celebrity gossip websites.
At the time, Thomas told TMZ that he meant no harm to Meghan or the royal family when he agreed to sell photos of himself getting ready for the wedding to paparazzi.
He also revealed to the celebrity gossip website that he had suffered a heart attack days earlier and checked himself out of the hospital in order to attend the wedding.
There have been many headlines about the duchess’s relationship with her father, and often she is presented as the ‘social climber’ who cut him off as she “ascended” into the royal family.
While some tabloids depict Meghan as careless, the book paints her as a concerned daughter who tried repeatedly to help her dad.
Not only was she sympathetic to his situation – reportedly telling a friend: “He’s been baited. A lot of the tabloid journalists have been coaxing him and paying him I don’t know if he really even had a chance” – she was also worried about his health.
Following the news that her father had been hospitalised. Meghan wrote in a text to him: “I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you’re not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts … Very concerned about your health and safety and have taken every measure to protect you but not sure what more we can do if you don’t respond … Do you need help? Can we send the security team down again? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in the hospital but need you to please get in touch with us … What hospital are you at?”
Despite her organising to resend the security protection he had rejected earlier, Thomas again refused her assistance, the book states.
It wasn’t the last time Meghan’s attempts to reach out to her father were unsuccessful – or that he would choose the press as a vehicle for communicating his position.
Thomas claimed Meghan cut ties with him, something tabloids ran with but the book presents an entirely different picture.
It refutes Thomas’s claims that he sent a text message to Meghan three weeks after her wedding saying that his surgery had been successful or that he had no way of contacting her.
The five-page letter Meghan sent to her father, now the subject of a legal dispute between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Associated Newspapers, Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, demonstrates another attempt by the Duchess to mend things with her father.
Thomas wrote a reply, which the biographers say signalled there was a prospect of reconciliation, but this was dashed – at least momentarily – when he later said he would testify against his daughter.
While Finding Freedom chronicles the pair’s relationship up to a point, with no trial date set for the duchess’s lawsuit, the ramifications of Thomas’s decision to share extracts of the letter with the tabloids and his inclination to testify against his daughter mean this story is far from over.