Remember back when Samantha Markle apologized "for any of the past tension and confusion and misunderstandings and asinine things I've said" and then told pregnant sister Meghan Markle she was willing to "let it all go" for the sake of her and Prince Harry's unborn child?
That was fun while it lasted. All eight weeks of it.
Because despite vowing to DailyMailTV in a October to put her ego aside and "stop the sparring," Meghan's estranged half-sister was at it again this weekend, taking the duchess to task for a perceived slight that it's likely only she took offense to. This time it was the Christmas card she and Harry released, an image from their wedding which most observers viewed as a stunning black-and-white portrait of the newlyweds taking in the fireworks display during their May wedding reception at Frogmore House.
Samantha, of course, saw a snub. "Interesting that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have their backs turned," she tweeted Dec. 14. "Is this towards the world or just the Ragland and Markle family? It's a bit sad. Face the Christmas spirit."
While many would argue it makes more sense to face the costly display of pyrotechnics, few could blame Meghan if she, indeed, wanted to pretend certain portions of her family didn't exist.
Because it's not just Samantha who feels 'tis the season to air out family feuds. After taking a four month break from riffing about her "sense of superiority", declaring "she'd be nothing without me" and dubbing the royal family as a whole to be a breeding ground for Scientologists and Stepford Wives, Thomas Markle was back on ITV's Good Morning Britain today wondering why his hiatus from public speaking hasn't earned him a phone call from his daughter. Goaded on by host Piers Morgan, who himself seems offended not to have remained on the duchess' call sheet after the drink they shared together back in 2016, he speculated about the reasons the 37-year-old and her groom, 34, might have for ghosting him. Largely placing the blame on tabloids, he ignored the fact that he continues to defy the one edict he himself admitted they gave him before this whole saga began: Don't speak to the press.
And though he's flown in the face of that request, by his count, some five times, he remains hopeful that his daughter will grant him a reprieve. As he insisted to Morgan, "This can't continue forever."
Which, if he truly believes the answer to ending the silent treatment was to make the hourlong drive to San Diego from his home in Rosarita, Mexico and issue yet another public plea to a woman who's made it clear that all she wants for Christmas is his discretion, well, we have some bad news. A source tells Us Weekly that Meghan is finally so fed up with what she feels are Thomas' continued acts of betrayal she has "completely cut" him out of her life. While the first interview following his decision to pull out of her wedding due to heart issues was upsetting, "It keeps getting worse and worse," said the source, "he won't stop. It's shocking." Echoed another insider, "The best thing he could have done since the day it fell apart would be to go away, and stay silent and he's doing everything but."
It's somewhat easier to understand why Samantha refuses to remain quiet. Whether due to pure jealousy or some sort of latent issues from their youth (though it's worth noting there's a roughly 16-year age gap between them), she seems unable to stop herself from getting a dig in at little sis whenever she feels the opportunity presents itself.
Not even a full week after she declared of the expectant royals, "Everybody just needs to shut the heck up and let this be a great thing for them, for the world, for the family," she was using her Twitter pulpit to give her take on an October speech Meghan gave at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.
Meghan's crime, Samantha felt, was opening up about the "personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university," and then going on to talk about "the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling." According to Meghan, she paid for the dual-degree she earned at pricey Northwestern University "through scholarships, financial aid programs and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition."
But Samantha's take was that Thomas bankrolled the full cost, which likely totaled upwards of $100,000. "Our father paid for all of her education!" she insisted. "This speech is not true."
And she took particular umbrage with the former actress not giving her dad full credit. "Do not ever reward a lie it does not matter how fluffy it is!" she continued. "It is wrong and there is no force on the planet that will take this away from my father. She should inspire women with the truth and with gratitude!"
Also, she should face forward in any and all season greetings. Because Samantha didn't contain her holiday card opinion to just one missive, returning to social media on Saturday to take Meghan to task along with all of the people who, perhaps rightly, pointed out that her message was ridiculous. "It's incredibly rude to turn your back in a Christmas photo that is meant to share warmth and good wishes to the world," she wrote. "Those that criticize me for pointing out the truth, need to get that brown stuff off their noses." A third note reinforced her belief that turning your back is rude: "That's like saying merry Christmas look at my butt."
So it's safe to say Samantha has had a reversal in attitude from just two months ago when she was labeling their past tensions "water under the bridge." After all, she does have a book to promote.
But Thomas' motive is decidedly less clear. On the surface he does truly seem to want to mend the relationship with his daughter that he believes was tarnished after he was caught staging photographs of himself preparing for the royal wedding. But it's simply baffling to think he believes this is the best way to go about doing it.
As an answer to those royal watchers bellowing the obvious—She won't talk to you because you can't stop granting interview to the press!—he insisted that he already tried the silence is golden method to no avail.
"We talked about this last week," he said on Good Morning Britain. "It was a matter of, 'Why does continue to keep talking? If he just shut up, they would talk to [him].' Well, I've been quiet for six months, and no one has returned anything back to me. No one's said a word to me. I'm confused by it." (By our count, he gave his last interview in August, but what's a few months between friends and the world's population?)
So, he figures he might as well return to his previous tact of badgering her publicly in the hopes that he can simply wear her down. Plus it gives him the opportunity to clear up his own reputation, having used last week's talk published in The Mail on Sunday to respond to rumors that he also ditched out on Meghan's first wedding to talent agent and producer Trevor Engelson in 2011 and speculation that he faked the May heart attack that prevented him from traveling to England.
His actions make it hard not to believe he hopes to accomplish two goals with his continued tell-alls, the first being the slim chance that Meghan will catch wind of his latest chat and somehow be compelled to reach out, something she has declined to do for the previous seven months. The second, though, is a decidedly more self-serving attempt to improve public opinion about himself, the same motivation that drove him to agree to the staged paparazzi pictures in the first place.
To his credit he seems to have ditched, or at least masked, the anger that fueled his earlier interviews. No longer is he claiming, "I made her the duchess she is today." When Morgan, clearly wounded that he wasn't deemed worth of the duchess' continued friendship, suggested it was a character trait of hers to "jettison people who are no longer important to her," Thomas didn't take the bait, insisting, "She's always been very polite to everyone. She's never been rude to anyone."
And he dismissed Morgan's insinuation that the new royal is a bit of a social climber, though he couldn't stop himself from adding, "She's always been a very controlling person—that's part of her nature."
Nor could he resist a swipe at Harry's admittedly ghastly indiscretions when talking to The Mail on Sunday, revealing he wrote his daughter a letter in which he "pointed out the Royals haven't always been perfectly behaved. I wrote that I've never played pool naked, nor have I dressed up as a Nazi."
But he seemed to reserve most of his ire for the media, accusing outlets of twisting his words or just inventing them altogether, which is a particularly stunning recrimination when the bulk of his interviews have taken place on camera and people have been able to hear him speak for themselves.
"The only thing I can actually think of is that they're reading all of the things in the trades and the tabloids that people are saying I'm saying," he told Good Morning Britain. "I've only done five interviews, and out of those interviews, hundreds of other people come, and they get a story and they give a story, and they say I've said these things. I haven't said so many things. But they're believing it."
Asked to name a particular made-up quote, he was at a loss, but he was certain that was the problem. Even after, in a stunning moment of clarity, Morgan suggested that, actually, Meghan may just be fed up with his ongoing breaches of her privacy, ones that often accompanied by him sharing personal family photos or even hand-written cards, he seemed unwilling to shoulder the blame.
"I know that you see this interview today as just another attempt to try and appeal to her," started the host. "Of course, she may be watching this going, 'There's my dad again. On TV. Talking about all of this. I can't trust him."
But Thomas' reaction was either a product of pure denial or a stubborn refusal to be the one at fault. Instead, he played the sympathy card, reiterating once again how close he and his daughter once were as if that should make up for any future wrongdoings he should commit.
"My daughter Meghan lived with me from the age of 11, all through middle school and high school until she went off to college. We're very close," he said. "What's happening , I'm not sure of. I'd love to talk to her about it. Here, again, I think it comes back to the fact that so many reporters would pick up one of the articles I've done and write their own stories and tell lies and say things that I've said that I haven't said."
So, really, he summed up, the blame could be placed on Meghan and Harry for making the grave mistake of taking to heart everything they read. (Or are told, presumably they have handlers to filter through their press.) "If they're believing that, that's unfortunate," insisted Thomas, "because they've always told me not to believe anything in any of the tabloids."
Which, fine. But they're allowed to believe what they hear with their own ears, right? Because in that case, Thomas, we wouldn't count on your Christmas wish for a family reunion coming true.