Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding is fast approaching.
The soon-to-be newlyweds’ gold-emblazoned invitations are in the post and the reception location has been confirmed.
But the question remains: will Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle Senior, walk the 36-year-old down the aisle?
With speculation that her media-shy dad is flying from Mexico for the May 19 nuptials rife, we take a look at everything there is to know about the 73-year-old.
From his undeniable influence on Meghan’s acting career to his relationship with Prince Harry, consider this the ultimate go-to guide on Thomas Markle Snr.
Who is Thomas Markle Senior?
Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle Sr., was born in 1945 and is of Dutch-Irish heritage.
He worked as a television lighting director on hit US shows including Married with Children and General Hospital. The latter even enabled him to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series.
And it was his experience that influenced Meghan’s acting career. The former Suits star revealed to Esquire back in 2013: “Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married with Children, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up.”
She continued, “There were a lot of times my dad would say, ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-colour for your 11-year-old eyes.”
How did Meghan Markle’s parents meet?
Meghan Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle Sr. and Doria Ragland, met back in the late seventies. Her mother worked as a temp at a television studio where Thomas also worked. After dating, the couple went on to marry on 23 December 1979.
In a 2015 essay for Elle Meghan spoke candidly about her parents’ relationship: “I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her afro, plus their shared love of antiques.”
The couple welcomed Meghan on August 4, 1981, and later moved to The Valley in Los Angeles. But it was a tough upbringing, as the 36-year-old struggled with the area’s lack of diversity.
“There was my mum, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was since they assumed she was the nanny,” Meghan continued in her essay for Elle.
Is Meghan Markle close to her family?
When Meghan Markle was six-years-old, her parents divorced and the Duchess-in-waiting moved to Ragland to live with her mother.
Yet despite their separation, the family remained on good terms.
In a 2016 cover interview with Vanity Fair, the 36-year-old revealed: “What’s so incredible, you know, is that my parents split up when I was two, [but] I never saw them fight. We would still take vacations together. My dad would come on Sundays to drop me off, and we’d watch Jeopardy! eating dinner on TV trays, the three of us. We were still so close-knit.”
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Does Meghan Markle have a close relationship with her father?
Before the royal-in-waiting deleted her social media accounts, the former actress would regularly take to Instagram to praise her father. Back in 2016, the 36-year-old took to the social media platform to write: “Happy Father’s Day, daddy. I’m still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world.”
She continued: “Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose. I love you xo -Bean.”
Who is Samantha Grant?
Meghan Markle has two older half-siblings, Thomas Markle Jr. and Samantha Grant, from her father’s first marriage to Rosalyn Markle.
Ever since news broke of the couple’s flourishing relationship, Samantha has thrived in the media spotlight. She even went so far as to change her surname to ‘Markle’ in a bid to grow closer to the 36-year-old. But the siblings have a strained relationship.
And it is unlikely that Samantha will receive a royal invitation to the May 19 nuptials, as she is reportedly writing a tell-all book titled: ‘The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister’.
But it’s hardly surprising, as the 52-year-old frequently voices her opinion on the royal-to-be’s future marriage. Despite being estranged from Meghan since 2008, she appeared on TLC’s special, When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Engagement.
And she has often taken the opportunity to criticise Meghan. During an interview with Australian television programme, A Current Affair, she accused her half-sister of not using her finances to support their father, who reportedly declared bankruptcy in 2016. She said: “Honestly what she could spend in a weekend would greatly help Dad, so that should be a priority.”
Are Meghan Markle’s half-siblings invited to the royal wedding?
Despite multiple reports suggesting that Thomas Markle Sr. will walk Meghan down the aisle, the former actress has not invited Samantha Grant or Thomas Markle Jr. to the May 19 nuptials.
In a recent interview with Good Morning Britain, it was revealed that the former actress’ sister-in-law, Tracy Dooley and her nephew, Tyler Dooley, are also not invited to the royal wedding.
When asked if Meghan’s father is set to walk the 26-year-old down the aisle, Tracy revealed: “I’ve heard that he’s going to be over there and I’m sure that he will be giving her away. The arrangements are being made… I don’t think he’s waiting for his invitation, because I’m sure they already have the plans in place, and for me talking to him, he’s very excited to be a part of it.”
Where does Meghan Markle’s dad live?
Despite growing up in the United States, Thomas Markle has reportedly relocated to Mexico since retiring from the television industry. He has since refrained from being in the media spotlight.
Does Thomas Markle approve of Prince Harry?
Meghan Markle’s father reportedly approves of her husband-to-be but has yet to meet him. The Mirror managed to track Thomas Markle Sr. down in Mexico and when asked if he’s looking forward to the wedding, he replied: “I’m very pleased. I’m delighted.”
During the couple’s now-famous engagement interview with the BBC, Meghan added: “He’s [Prince Harry] talked to my dad a few times but hasn’t been able to meet him just yet.”
Thomas Markle will receive a family coat of arms
According to People, a family coat of arms will be bestowed upon the Markle family customised with symbols which reflect their heritage and history.
The tradition follows in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 nuptials, as Kate Middleton’s father, Michael, received a coat of arms before his daughter’s wedding.
The Middleton crest features three acorns, which represent the couple’s three children and also pays tribute to their Berkshire residence. The coat of arms also pays reference to Carole Middleton’s maiden name, Goldsmith, thanks to a gold chevron in the middle.
Two years after the royal wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received their own ‘conjugal coat of arms’. A red escallop shell pays tribute to the late Princess Diana’s family coat of arms and it is likely that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s future coat of arms will have a similar personal touch.
Will Thomas Markle walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?
Speculation as to whether Thomas will walk his daughter down the aisle at St George’s Chapel is rife though several reports suggest that her mother will take on the role instead.
But when recently asked if he would like to give his daughter away, the 73-year-old replied: “Yes, I’d love to.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed on 19 Mary at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and 800 guests are expected to attend. The event will be televised so we guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Watch this space.