The Duchess of Sussex has said she discovered her father Thomas Markle was not going to attend her wedding “through a tabloid”.
Mr Markle made global headlines after he was caught staging paparazzi photographs in the days ahead of the Sussex’s wedding on May 19 2018.
In episode three of their new Netflix docuseries, Meghan spoke about her estranged father while reflecting on the lead-up to her tying the knot.
She said: “The week before our wedding we get a call from our joint communications secretary who said this story is going to come out tomorrow saying your father has been staging pictures and taking money from the press. That was the first I was hearing of it.”
Meghan explained she had a conversation with her father in which she said he denied the allegations but refused to be flown to the UK a day early for the wedding.
Meghan said: “It felt really cagey. I said ‘it doesn’t make sense’. And when we hung up I looked at H (Harry), I was like ‘I don’t know why but I don’t believe him’.”
She added: “Paps and journalists immediately were following him all day, every day. The unravelling happened that week when he wouldn’t pick up my call, and instead you’re talking to TMZ and I’m finding out that you’re not coming to our wedding through a tabloid?.”
Mr Markle later issued a public statement through US website TMZ that he had gone to hospital because he had had a heart attack.
In the episode, the duchess said they attempted to call her father more than 20 times to understand what was happening but that he never came back to them.
She said that finally they received a text which said: “I’ve done nothing to hurt you Meghan or anyone else. I know nothing about 20 phone calls I’m sorry my heart attack is any inconvenience for you”.
Meghan explained that she did not believe it was really her father as it was the “opposite” of how he would typically text and that he had never addressed her as Meghan in her life.
Mr Markle did not attend the couple’s royal wedding, with Meghan saying at the time that he needed to focus on his health.
Addressing the strained relationship in the episode, the Duke of Sussex said: “Of course it is incredibly sad what happened. She had a father before this and now she doesn’t have a father.
“And I shouldered that because if Meg wasn’t with me, then her dad would still be her dad.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Meghan claimed her elder half-sister Samantha Markle, the daughter of her father and his former partner Roslyn Loveless, exaggerated the extent of their relationship.
She said: “The UK media, I truly believe, wanted my mum’s side of my family to be the ones that all this drama could be stirred up with and suddenly you just had my mum who is classy and quiet, and then you have the other side of my family that is just acting differently.”
As newspaper articles are shown, Meghan said: “My half-sister, who I hadn’t seen for over a decade, and that was only for a day and a half, suddenly it felt like she was everywhere.
“I don’t know your middle name, I don’t know your birthday. You are telling these people that you raised me and you are calling me Princess Pushy?”
She added: “The last time I saw her, that I remember, is when I was in my early twenties. I hadn’t had a fallout with her. We didn’t have a closeness to be able to have that – and I wanted a sister.”
A statement within the episode reads: “Samantha Markle maintains that she and Meghan had a close relationship until 2018 and that the media fabricated quotes that have been attributed to her.”
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