Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been battling family drama on both sides. The couple opens up in the third episode of their Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, about what happened behind-the-scenes with Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, that led to him not attending their 2018 royal wedding.
“Of course, it’s incredibly sad what happened. She had a father before this. And now she doesn’t have a father. And I shouldered that. Because if Meg wasn’t with me, then her dad would still be her dad,” Prince Harry admits in the docuseries.
The family drama was taken to a new level in the days before Harry and Meghan’s wedding on May 19, 2018. The couple learned about Thomas possibly staging paparazzi photos for money, so they called him to ask him about it. Thomas denied the accusation at the time. He has since apologized for his participation.
Meghan and Prince Harry offered to send someone to get him out of Mexico and to London a day earlier for the wedding. “And he said, ‘No, no. I have things I need to do,’” Meghan claims in the docuseries. Meghan admits that her father’s response to her felt “really cagey.”
She reveals that she looked over at Harry and said, “I don’t know why, but I don’t believe him.” Her gut instinct was right. The photos were released and became a major scandal right before the royal wedding. “I was absolutely stunned that Tom would become part of this circus,” Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, says.
After that, Meghan admits that Thomas didn’t return her calls. Instead, he spoke to TMZ about not attending the wedding and didn’t even tell Meghan and Prince Harry first. Four days before the wedding, Thomas was hospitalized for a heart attack. Meghan continued to text her father about what was going on, but he did not respond.
Two days before the wedding, Meghan texted her father asking him to “stop talking to any press.” She wrote that he hadn’t “returned any of our 20+ calls since we all spoke on Saturday morning; which only adds to the hurt you’ve been causing. We aren’t angry but we do really need to speak to u.” A text from Thomas’ phone came in and addressed Meghan by her full name.
“It was really weird… I was like, ‘He’s never called me Meghan in my…any day I’ve lived on this planet. Meg. All my friends call me Meg and my parents call me Meg.’ And I was like, ‘That’s not my dad.’” Prince Harry ended up responding through Meghan’s phone and wanted to know if this was actually Thomas texting them. “Never spoke to him,” Meghan says in the docuseries.
Thomas did not attend Meghan and Prince Harry’s wedding, and the father and daughter’s relationship remain estranged. Meghan’s mom accompanied her on the car ride to Windsor Castle. Prince Charles, now King Charles III, stepped in to help walk Meghan down the aisle in the wake of her father’s absence.