Thomas Markle: who is Meghan Markle’s father, was he at Royal Wedding, did he have heart attack, is he married?

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Meghan Markle’s father Thomas has not been in touch with the Duchess of Sussex since she married Prince Harry in 2018

Since the release of Harry & Meghan, a new £100 million Netflix documentary charting the experience of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with the royal family, the family of both partners have been back in the spotlight.

Meghan’s half-siblings spoke out against the documentary, which gives the perspective of Harry and Meghan on their lives before and after they decided to step back from royal duties. Meghan’s father, Thomas, is discussed in the documentary - Harry said that his wife ‘doesn’t have a father’ following her falling out with him around the time of her wedding to Harry.

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Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain in 2021Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain in 2021
Thomas Markle on Good Morning Britain in 2021 | YouTube/ ITV

Who is Thomas Markle?

Thomas Markle, 78, is the estranged father of Meghan Markle, and father-in-law of Prince Harry. Markle was born in Pennsylvania and worked as a lighting director and director of photography on American television programmes including General Hospital, The Facts of Life, and Married with Children.

Markle won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Design Excellence for a Daytime Drama Series for General Hospital and was nominated for a  Primetime Emmy Award for his work as a lighting director at the 58th Academy Awards. He is now retired - in 2016 he filed for bankruptcy.

He married Doria Ragland and the couple had a child, Meghan in 1981 - the couple split and Doria raised Meghan herself. Shortly before his daughter’s wedding, Markle posed for staged paparazzi photographs, and lied to Harry, telling him that they were not staged. He did not attend Meghan and Harry’s wedding - he was recovering from a major health issue at the time, though he also claimed that he had not been invited.

After the wedding, he made media appearances and spoke to the press, stating that he made his daughter what she is today. In 2019 he published part of a letter which Meghan had sent him after her wedding in which she said that he had ‘broken my heart’. Markle has stated that he doesn’t expect to have contact with Meghan again, although he hopes that they will reconcile. He also stated that he will petition for the right to see his grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with Doria Ragland in 2018Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with Doria Ragland in 2018
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with Doria Ragland in 2018 | AFP via Getty Images

Is Thomas Markle married?

Thomas Markle has been married twice - he married Roslyn Loveless, a secretary whom he met at the University of Chicago, in 1964 - the couple divorced in 1975. Markle married Doria Ragland, a social worker and former makeup artist, ​in 1979 - they divorced in 1987, but had been separated for several years. Since divorcing Ragland, Thomas has not remarried.

Did Thomas Markle have a heart attack?

Thomas Markle suffered a heart attack days before Harry and Meghan’s wedding, and was recovering from the health scare during the event, which he did not attend. It was later alleged that Markle had faked the heart attack to get out of attending his daughter’s wedding - however, he then presented medical documents which seem to prove that he had been seriously ill.

He had a heart attack in Mexico and was hospitalised for a day and a half. He felt enough to leave the hospital and planned to drive to Los Angeles, but had a second heart attack before crossing the border. He was taken to a hospital in America where he said that doctors saved his life. Markle shared a medical bill statement totalling more than $128,000 for services including radiology, emergency care services, and intensive care room. In May of this year, Markle lost his ability to speak after suffering a stroke.

Does Thomas Markle have other children?

Thomas Markle has two other children - Samantha Markle, 58, and Thomas Markle Jr., 56, with Roslyn Markle. Samantha, a former actress and model, recently spoke out about her half-sister’s documentary, saying that it was filled with lies. Thomas Jr. has also criticised the documentary, calling it ‘horrible’. He was in the news in 2017 following a series of domestic disputes with his partner - in one incident he allegedly held a gun to his partner’s head.

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