Mr Markle, Doria and their daughter as she started her career and within a few years of this photo she would be earing $40,000 per episode of Suits
Thomas Markle has shared extraordinary unseen photos and films of his Duchess daughter for a 90-minute bombshell documentary where he spoke of their loving and close relationship before she dumped him for Harry and his ‘stiff’ royal family.
The 75-year-old also described his pride after the birth of his daughter in August 1981 as he opened up to Britain’s Channel 5 in a film, watched by 1.2million people last night – just days after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex started their new life in Canada.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019
Mr Markle says Meghan‘s childhood years were ‘the happiest of my life’ as he shared dozens of pictures of her key moments including on the day she entered the world and as father and daughter bonded while he changed her nappies in the following days.
There are also a string of happy photos of Meghan with her mother Doria Ragland, including at family Christmas parties and summer picnics near their home in California, before she moved in with Thomas as a teenager after the couple’s divorce.
Mr Markle has also shared rare home video footage of Meghan’s first school productions where he says a star was born, her high school graduation, leaving for college as well as family photos as she won her first Hollywood parts and secured her breakthrough on Suits.
An emotional Mr Markle also said he was ‘jealous’ and cried as he saw the Prince of Wales walking his daughter down the aisle and justified making the film to defend himself and rebut the ‘trashy things’ said about him
Channel 5 has refused to reveal to MailOnline what Mr Markle was paid, but with Meghan’s father known to have been paid £7,500 to appear on Good Morning Britain in 2018 industry sources suggest his fee would likely run into tens of thousands of pounds.
Describing meeting Meghan for the first time, he told the documentary: ‘When she was born I couldn’t have been happier. They handed her to me, I saw her face, her little fingers wrapped around my fingers and that was it, I was in love. I just knew she was going to be special. I was just knocked out by that child. She was just beautiful and I just couldn’t put her down’.
Mr Markle, who claims he has not spoken to the Duchess since before the wedding, which he missed because of heart surgery, says he believes their relationship is now beyond repair
Talks between the documentary’s makers and TV executives in America are ongoing amid rumours of a bidding war over the 90-minute film.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Talks are ongoing with the major networks in the US – once a deal is done the film could be shown within days, depending on whether they want to change their schedule’.
Even as she launched her acting career in Los Angeles after university they would see her ‘three to four times a week’ – but it all changed after meeting Harry, who he has never met.
Meghan’s mother was her only relative at the royal wedding – her father said: ‘She’s been supported and loved by everybody on both sides of her [American] family. The family that she’s joined is far stiffer than the one that she’s left’.
Asked if Meghan should be supporting him financially he said: ‘She has given me some money – she gave me $5,000 for Christmas once. The money she gave me has been gifts, Only once or twice have I asked for help.
‘When she was angry with me she claimed that she had given me $20,000 over two years – but I paid for everything that got her to where she is not. I’m not asking for it back – but it’s awfully picky to focus on what she’s given me, ignoring what I’ve given her’.
Thomas says that he would see his daughter most weekends after Doria decided she wanted to move back to central Los Angeles
And he defending his decision to speak out in the film and to be paid for the lengthy interview.
He said: ‘At this point, they owe me. The royals owe me. Harry owes me, Meghan owes me. What I’ve been through I should be rewarded for. My daughter told me that when I reach my senior years she’ll take care of me. I’m in my senior years now – it’s time to look after Daddy.’
The documentary contains at least five home videos of Meghan that have never seen before and Thomas says he knew his daughter would be an actress after seeing her perform as a teenager in high school plays.
There are also adorable images of Meghan fishing and joking with her father on various home movies.
Mr Markle said he felt ‘tremendous pride’ watching Meghan act on stage at the private Catholic all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
And a video was revealed in a Channel 5 documentary last night of one of Meghan’s star performances aged 15 as Little Red Riding Hood in the play Into the Woods.
The clip filmed in March 1997 showed Prince Harry‘s future wife confidently walking around the stage and delivering her lines with gusto.
Former TV lighting director Mr Markle also told a Channel 5 documentary how he helped build some scenery and rig the lights for plays at the school.
He also told a bombshell documentary how he cried as he watched her marry Prince Harry on TV from a ‘safe house’ after his release from hospital.
Intimate home footage filmed on Meghan Markle’s last day at high school shows the future Duchess of Sussex mingling with both her mother and estranged father in the years before the family’s very public falling out.
At his home Mr Markle proudly showed off various royal gifts he had received, such as a mug commemorating the birth of Archie, his grandson. And he even joked that he had heard about Meghan and Harry branded condoms.
Viewers were treated to pictures of Meghan on the day of her birth, and he describes her as a ‘natural beauty’ and the most ‘special thing in my life.’
There were also pictures of Mr Markle’s upbringing, with pictures of him as a young man. In one picture of him as a boy, he jokes: ‘I looked like Harry…better looking.’
He told the 90-minute documentary about meeting Meghan’s mother, and and how he felt about his daughter was born by C-section.
‘Not everybody seems to approve of those kind of relationships,’ he added with regards to being in a mixed-race relationship with Doria.
‘People would look at Doria like she was a housekeeper. It wasn’t fair. Of course it wasn’t fair.
‘I think she’s going through the same problem right now with the royals. I don’t think they know where to place her. She always looks scared. She always looks like a deer in the headlights.’
A glamorous-looking Meghan, who is aged just 17 at the time, is seen surrounded by relatives including Thomas Markle and a beaming Doria Ragland at the private all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
The clip, filmed by Thomas in the summer of 1999, shows the future Duchess of Sussex making her way through a crowd of students towards her father, who she greets with a loving ‘hi daddy’ before tightly hugging a proud Doria.
Meghan is then caught enduring an awkward exchange with Doria’s father Alvin, who bemoans how he does not see his granddaughter on a regular basis and ‘no longer recognises’ her, causing Meghan to laugh uncomfortably.
In the 90-minute documentary that aired on Channel 5 last night, a visibly crestfallen Thomas Markle described having to watch his daughter Meghan walk down the aisle on television as he recovered from a heart attack.
An emotional Mr Markle told the interviewer he was ‘jealous’ of the Prince of Wales walking his daughter down the aisle was something he ‘really wanted to do’.
He said: ‘My daughter looked beautiful. I wish that I could have been there with her. I was certainly appreciative Charles was there. I admit I cried a bit about that. To this day I can’t forget that moment.’
Mr Markle, who divorced Meghan’s mother Doria in the late 1980s, said the last time he spoke to his daughter was during an emotional series of phone calls days before her wedding.
He was due to walk Meghan up the aisle for her wedding in Windsor, but offered to pull out when it emerged that he had made a secret deal with a photographer.
He agreed to pose for photos which showed him preparing for the wedding shortly after Kensington Palace appealed for the media to respect his privacy.
Mr Markle said his involvement in the deal would ‘haunt me for the rest of my life’, and detailed a phone call in which Harry reprimanded him over the decision.
In addition, it charts Meghan’s formative years – she lived with Thomas between the ages of 11 and 18.
Doria and Meghan when she was around ten – mother and daughter remain very close and Doria is also said to be very close to Harry
The 90-minute documentary explores the background to what he calls his ‘complicated’ relationship with his daughter and their dramatic fallout in the run-up to her wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018.
Thomas Markle today revealed he doesn’t think his daughter will see him again until he is ‘lowered into the ground’ in a coffin and justified being paid to take part in a Channel 5 documentary saying: ‘ Meghan owes me – it’s time to look after daddy’.
In the tell-all 90-minute film he accused Prince Harry of acting like a ‘sensitive’ 12-year-old and pledged to evidence against the couple in the High Court saying: ‘I’m going to defend myself’.
Accusing his daughter and son-in-law of saying ‘trashy things’ about him, he said: ‘I don’t care. At this point, they owe me. The Royals owe me. Harry owes me, Meghan owes me. What I’ve been through I should be rewarded for. My daughter told me that when I reach my senior years she’ll take care of me. I’m in my senior years now, it’s time to look after daddy’.
In the extraordinary film he also reveals the details of his last phone call with the Sussexes on the eve of their 2018 wedding as it emerged he had posed for a paparazzi photographer , a decision he says will ‘haunt me for the rest of my life.
He said: ‘ Harry said to me : “if you had listened to me, this wouldn’t have happened to you”. I said to him ‘it’s too bad I didn’t die because then you guys could pretend you were sad’ and then I hung up on them. I was done’.
He has never spoken to them since or met Archie, despite sending texts and letters, and added: ‘I don’t think at this point they’re thrilled to see me or want to talk to me. The last time they might see me is being lowered into the ground’.
Mr Markle is ready to testify against the Duchess of Sussex in court in a legal battle between the duchess and The Mail on Sunday, after the newspaper published extracts from a letter she sent to her father.
He told Channel 5; ‘To them I don’t exist and now Harry, whether he realises it or not, is part of my family and I’m part of his. We should be talking’.
He added: ‘He’s not 12 years old any more, he’s got no right to be this sensitive. There are other parts of the letter that I would never put out because they’re too offensive and too hurtful to me. And that’s where it’s at now’.
Sitting on a wicker chair at his home in Mexico , Thomas, a retired Hollywood lighting director, is filmed talking thoughtfully about his relationship with Meghan and Prince Harry.
He discussed the moment the former Suits actress called to tell him about her new boyfriend, after she met Prince Harry in 2016, but reveals he ‘didn’t know what it meant’ that she was dating a member of the royal family.
He explains: ‘She calls me on the phone and she said, ‘I’ve got a new boyfriend.’ I said, ‘Great’ and she says, ‘He’s British’.
‘I said ‘OK’ and she said, ‘He’s a prince.’ I said ‘Alright,’ and she said, ‘He’s Prince Harry’. I said, ‘Oh, OK’.’
‘I didn’t know what it meant. She could have been dating a Hollywood star and it would have been just as important to me, because you know either way they are both ‘high numbers’.’
He continues: ‘She said, ‘Do you want to talk to him?’ and handed him the phone. He said ‘hello’ in a very British way and we talked a bit and that was nice.’ (Dailymailonline.com)