Meghan Markle’s father made major headlines when his daughter married Prince Harry. Ahead of the couple’s interview with Oprah, here’s everything you should know about him.
Thomas Markle, 76, has made headlines several times over the years and it’s all because of his daughter Meghan Markle, 39, and her marriage with Prince Harry, 36. The royal couple, who are now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are set to make headlines on Mar. 7, when their in-depth interview with Oprah Winfrey airs on CBS, and everyone is wondering if Meghan will talk about her now non-existent relationship with her father. The pre-recorded interview is the first one Meghan and Harry gave since they decided to “step away” from their royal duties in England and move to Santa Barbara, CA last year and promises that “no topic is off limits.”
Although it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not Meghan will discuss Thomas on the special, which will showcase her and Harry’s struggles with the their previous royal life, a TV source told The Sun that she’s “likely” to be grilled about their relationship. The outlet also reported that Thomas himself is booked for an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain next week to discuss his take on what’s said in the CBS feature.
As you get ready to watch both interviews, here’s everything you should know about Thomas:
Thomas worked in the TV industry.
Thomas has his own IMDB page, which confirms that he’s worked as a cinematographer and lighting director. He’s worked on shows like Married with Children, The Facts of Life and General Hospital. He won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on General Hospital: In 1982, he took home Outstanding Achievement in Design Excellence for a Daytime Drama Series and in 2011 he won Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series. He was also nominated seven other times, and got one Primetime Emmy Award nomination, as well.
Thomas was married twice and has a total of three children.
Thomas’ first wife was a woman named Roslyn Loveless. They lived in Chicago while he worked lighting at a local station. After the marriage ended, Thomas moved to California where he met Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland. He was working as a lighting director for General Hospital, while Doria was a temp at the studio, Meghan once confirmed. They got married in 1979, but ended their relationship in 1988. Meghan was six at the time. Thomas’ other two children, Samantha and Thomas Jr., are from a relationship before he met Doria.
Thomas once won the lottery.
Thomas won the lottery in California in 1990, according to an unauthorized Meghan Markle biography called Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. He reportedly won $750,000, although he eventually filed for bankruptcy.
Where does Thomas live?
Before making major headlines for his royal wedding drama, Thomas lived a mostly secluded life. After retiring, he relocated to Rosarito, Mexico, where he lives very simply.
Has Thomas met Prince Harry?
Thomas was set to meet members of the royal family at the wedding, which he ended up not attending, so he has not met Harry. He has admitted to talking to him on the phone before the wedding though.
What was Meghan’s relationship like with Thomas?
While she was growing up, Meghan seemed to have a good relationship with her now estranged father Thomas and he supported her success. Although Thomas and Doria split up when Meghan was only two and divorced a few years later, the future Duchess of Sussex’s dad adored her. She lived with him during the week while attending a private school from the time she was 11 and when she started appearing in school productions, he reportedly used to use his lighting skills to help her find the best angles.
In addition to paying for her private school’s tuition, Thomas also reportedly helped pay for her college and used his connections as a lighting director on General Hospital, to help her get a small part on the soap opera, according to Biography. Once Meghan became engaged to Harry in 2017 and they were planning her wedding, things seemed to go downhill for the father and daughter.
Although Thomas’ name was included in Kensington Palace’s statement about the engagement and Meghan planned to have him walk her down the aisle, he soon made headlines for talking to the press about his daughter and her plans to become a part of the Royal Family. Paparazzi photos, which Thomas later admitted were staged, also showed him seemingly getting fitted for the wedding and looking at books about Britain. Once it was revealed that he was paid for them, a lot of scrutiny followed, and he decided not to attend the wedding.
Despite his participation in the paid media stories and photos, Meghan still wanted him to be a part of the royal wedding. He reportedly agreed once again but just days before the big event, he had a heart attack and revealed he couldn’t travel to England to attend due to having heart surgery and wanting to focus on his health. Harry’s father, Prince Charles, ended up walking Meghan down the aisle for half of her walk.
After the wedding, Thomas continued to speak to the media even though Meghan reportedly begged him not to. He even let one media outlet publish a private letter Meghan wrote to him about her disappointment and heartbreak over what he was doing and eventually admitted he no longer spoke to Meghan or Harry.
Where is Thomas now?
Thomas has reportedly still been living his private life in Mexico and has not seen Meghan since before her wedding. As of 2020, he has yet to meet his grandson Archie, who was born in May 2020. After Meghan and Harry, who stepped down from their royal duties and moved to Santa Barbara, CA in early 2020, announced they are expecting their second child in Feb. 2021, Thomas begged and pleaded to meet both children, according to The Sun.
“I wish Meghan and Harry a successful, healthy birth and I hope some day I get to see my grandchildren,” he told Inside Edition. “They’re all royal grandchildren.”