Queen Elizabeth II was worried that the ‘Thomas Markle situation’ was spiraling out of control.
For more than 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II’s primary purpose has been to promote the survival of the British monarchy, according to a new report by Vanity Fair. In those decades, she has ably fended off various threats, including scandals surrounding Princess Diana’s miserable marriage to Prince Charles and Diana’s early death.
Prince William’s 2011 marriage to Kate Middleton started a new era of positive PR that continued with the arrival of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle.
But the queen began to worry that Harry’s romance with his former TV actress bride could turn into another “busted-up” fairy tale after some of her American family members began talking to the tabloids and dishing dirt on her, Vanity Fair added.
The dirt dishing began with Meghan’s estranged older half-sister Samantha Markle. Soon after Meghan and Harry became engaged in November 2017, Samantha Markle, 53, issued tweets and gave interviews in which she portrayed the Los Angeles-born Meghan as a social climber who has turned her back on her biological family. Among other things, Samantha Markle was miffed that she and other Markle family members weren’t invited to Meghan’s May 19 royal wedding.
But the situation with Meghan’s family reached a crisis point, worthy of the queen’s notice, when Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, was caught posing for paparazzi photos just before the wedding. Then came news that the 74-year-old retired Hollywood lighting designer had suffered a heart attack and had to back out of coming to England to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Soon after, Thomas Markle himself began talking to the tabloids. He said that Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, at first forgave him for the paparazzi photos but then complained that they cut him off for continuing to give interviews.
The queen became “very concerned that it (the Markle situation) was spiraling out of control, which it was,” an observer told Vanity Fair.
“Buckingham Palace wanted to be able to do something and be proactive and make the situation go away,” the observed added to Vanity Fair. The queen told her courtiers to “sort it out.”
But Kensington Palace, which handles the affairs of Prince Harry, Prince William and their families, was getting a different set of directions from Meghan. “She didn’t want to engage and thought that she could handle it on her own,” the observer told Vanity Fair.
Aides at both palaces tried to figure out what to do, according to Vanity Fair. “There was a lot of tension between courtiers within the two royal households, and I think it just got to a point where it was stalemate and, you know, neither could move,” the observer added.
In the months since, the new Duchess of Sussex has refused to speak publicly about her American family, trying to appear above the fray. She has instead focused on making her mark as a new royal family member and global superstar. She’s also pregnant with her first child and preparing to set up her new royal household with Harry at Frogmore Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Kensington Palace has not commented on the Markle family situation.
But both Samantha and Thomas Markle have continued to speak out. Thomas Markle has expressed hurt that he’s not being treated as a loving and generous father, reminding the public that he, not his ex-wife Doria Ragland raised Meghan from the time she was 11. He also says he paid for Meghan’s private school and college education at Northwestern University.
Thomas Markle has called the royals a “cult” and asked why he’s being treated worse than Harry, who dealt with his own tabloid scandals in his 20s when he was drinking too much.
In an interview earlier this month for Piers Morgan’s British morning TV, Thomas Markle complained that his daughter was “ghosting” him and asked the queen herself to intervene in the family squabble. Thomas Markle also told the Daily Mail he was afraid he won’t be getting a Christmas card from his daughter and will never get to meet his grandchild.
Samantha Markle reportedly sent Meghan a Christmas card, urging the Duchess of Sussex to “end the rift” with their father, the tabloid The Mirror reported.
Sympathy may be turning towards Thomas Markle, given that Meghan has been hit by a series of unflattering stories that depict her as demanding with royal staff or that allege she’s feuding with Kate Middleton and has become a source of tension between Harry and William.
The UK tabloid The Sun reported earlier this month that William wasn’t too impressed with Meghan when Harry first began dating her and brought her to stay at Kensington Palace. Even though William knew his younger brother was madly in love, he still expressed doubts to him about the match.
“William told his brother they knew nothing about her background, her intentions, what she was really like,” a source told The Sun. “He just wanted to stress that becoming part of the royal family is a massive undertaking, and the pressure and scrutiny is unrelenting. Was Meghan the right one?”
Harry didn’t take William’s brotherly advice too kindly, according to The Sun. He felt especially protective of his new girlfriend, because he hadn’t been able to protect their mother, Princess Diana, who died tragically in a car accident in 1997.
Indeed, Harry “went mental,” a palace source told The Sun.
“He accused his brother of trying to finish his romance before it had begun,” the source continued to The Sun. “The brothers’ relationship has not really recovered.”
The Sun said it had learned that other senior family members also voiced “concerns” to Harry. These concerns centered on Meghan’s background, including her being divorced and from a middle-class, dysfunctional American family.
As one courtier “carefully” said to the tabloid: “A lot of people in the family objected. Who really knows what the concerns were? Was it Meghan’s background? Her father and dreadful half-sister? Because she was an outspoken American? Divorced?”
“Harry stood up for Meghan very forcibly,” the source said. “He really loves her.”
Vanity Fair notes that the blowup between Meghan and some of her biological family has been “aided and abetted by elements that include the British tabloids’ dexterity at fomenting race- and class-based discord, the royal family’s usual resistance to change, and the unbridled loopiness and more than occasional meanness of some Markles.”
Still, there is a possibility that Meghan will reconnect with her father, the observer told Vanity Fair.
The duchess may be interested “in a probationary period” during which her father wouldn’t speak publicly and they could work at mending their relationship, Vanity Fair reported. But the big question is whether Meghan would demand that Thomas Markle cut ties with Samantha Markle.
“Tom is caught between two daughters,” Vanity Fair reported.