Who is Thomas Markle Sr? Everything you need to know about Meghan's dad

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are said to be devastated by reports that the bride’s father, Thomas Markle Senior, will no longer be attending their May 19 wedding.

Former TV lighting director Thomas, who lives in Mexico, was due to walk his daughter down the aisle of St George’s Chapel in Windsor, and was expected to fly to the UK this week to meet the Queen and Prince Charles.

However, in an interview with TMZ, he revealed he no longer plans on attending the wedding after suffering a heart attack last week, and enduring the scandal that followed the release of paparazzi photos he staged.

After being pictured arranging the paparazzi photos with a known photographer, 73-year-old Thomas said he didn’t want to cause any further embarrassment to the royal family or his daughter.

Just days out from her wedding day, the news is reported to have hit Meghan hard. Although her parents split when she was just six, Meghan has had a strong relationship with her father who helped foster her love of acting. So who is Thomas Markle?

Meghan Markle photographed with her father, Thomas Markle Sr. Photo: Meghan Markle’s now-deleted Instagram account

Who is Thomas Markle Senior?

Meghan’s father 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.

It was his experience in the industry 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.”

Thomas Markle has pulled out of the royal wedding in the wake of the fake paparazzi photos. Photo: Sunrise

How did Meghan Markle’s parents meet?

Thomas met Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, 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 affluent suburb The Valley, in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t the easiest 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.

Meghan Markle photographed alongside her mother Doria Ragland at the Invictus Games [Photo: Getty]

Is Meghan Markle close to her family?

When Meghan Markle was six-years-old, her parents divorced and the duchess-in-waiting moved 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.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot on 19 May at St George’s Chapel in Windsor [Photo: Getty]

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.”

“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,” she continued.

Where does Meghan’s dad live?

Despite growing up in the United States, Thomas Markle has reportedly relocated to Mexico since retiring from the television industry.It’s been reported that he declared bankruptcy in 2016.

Unlike other members of the Markle family, Thomas has refrained from being in the spotlight throughout his daughter’s engagement and stayed silent when reportedly offered hundreds of thousands of dollars for interviews.

The only departure were the staged photos the were released last week, and saw him getting fitted for a wedding suit and scrolling through online articles about his daughter while in an internet cafe in Mexico.

In his interview with TMZ yesterdayThomas said he regretted staging the photos and only agreed to do it because he was concerned about the way he was depicted in other paparazzi photos he hadn’t been involved in taking.

Does Thomas 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.”

Kensington Palace announced Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement on 27 November, 2017 [Photo: Getty]

Who is Samantha Markle (formerly Grant)?

Meghan Markle has two older half-siblings, Thomas Jr. and Samantha, from her father’s first marriage to Rosalyn Markle.

Ever since news broke of Meghan and Harry’s flourishing relationship, Samantha has thrived in the media spotlight. She even went so far as to change her surname from ‘Grant’ to ‘Markle’ in a bid to grow closer to her estranged sibling. But they continue to have a strained relationship.

Samantha has publicly lamented the fact she didn’t receive an invitation to the May 19 nuptials, and was reported to be 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 and has booked interviews with various media outlets for the day of the wedding. 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 her half sister. During an interview with A Current Affair, she accused Meghan 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.”

Samantha Markle has recently dyed her hair from blonde to brunette in the lead up to the wedding.

For all the latest details on everything Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, check out our rolling Royal Wedding coverage here.

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