Meghan Markle's father Thomas Markle has expressed hope of reconciling with his estranged daughter and her husband Prince Harry's and meeting both their kids, including their newborn daughter, Lilibet "Lili" Mountbatten-Windsor.
In a new interview, the 76-year-old reiterated an apology to the couple over their family rift while also accusing Oprah Winfrey of exploitation following her bombshell interview with the pair in March and a separate sit-down with Harry for an Apple TV+ series, both of which have fueled a massive PR crisis for the royal family.
During their joint sit-down, a pregnant Meghan and Harry voiced criticism of the monarchy, which they left more than a year ago. They also told Oprah they were expecting a baby sister for 2-year-old son Archie Harrison. Lili was born earlier this month in Southern California, less than five hours away from Thomas' beachfront home in Mexico. In his interview with Australian TV show 60 Minutes, broadcast in full on Sunday, June 13, Thomas revealed how he found out about his granddaughter's birth.
"No phone calls," the 76-year-old retired Hollywood lighting director said. "I just heard it on the radio."
Lili is named after both Queen Elizabeth II and Harry's late mother Princess Diana. "Lili is a perfect name," Thomas said, "and the other thing that makes me happy is now there's a lot more Markle blood in the royal family. All I can say is I hope I get to eventually, sometime see these grandchildren of mine because I'm a pretty good grandpa."
During her interview with Oprah, Meghan discussed her difficulties acclimating to life as a member of the monarchy, revealing that she at one point felt suicidal as a royal. She also shocked the interviewer—and millions of viewers—when the couple said an unnamed family member expressed "concerns" over the skin color of their future first child. When asked about it, Harry's brother Prince William later said their family was not racist.
"The only person benefitting from this is Oprah Winfrey," Markle said on 60 Minutes. When asked if he thinks the TV mogul is exploiting Meghan and Harry, he replied. "Yes, I do...that's just my opinion. It seems to me she's pushing it to get more and more out of it."
Thomas also said he thought Harry and Oprah's Apple TV+ mental health docu-series The Me You Can't See, in which the duke detailed his wife's struggles and also criticized his royal upbringing in a solo interview, is a "setup."
"I think she's patting herself on the back and making a lot of money on this," he said. "I think Harry's being put into a position where he's saying things he'll never be able to take back...I'm not attacking Oprah but I really think Oprah's taking advantage of Harry."
Neither Meghan, Harry nor Oprah has responded to Thomas' comments, which also come two months after he drove up to the TV personality's Montecito, Calif. home, located not far from the Sussex's, and left with a security guard a letter in which he requested she grant him an interview as well.
"I left a letter for Oprah with my phone number and email and I said, 'Give me a chance to tell my story," he said on 60 Minutes. "I said, it's not fair to tell [their] story without hearing my story. I got no response."
Thomas explained he would never show up at his daughter's doorstep uninvited. "I'd never do that," he said. "That makes me a stalker. I'm not a stalker."
He also reiterated that he has not spoken to Meghan or Harry since two days before their 2018 royal wedding, after he drew controversy by posing for staged paparazzi photos that the tabloids released just before the nuptials. In an August 2018 Mail on Sunday interview, the duchess's dad confessed to initially lying to Harry about posing for the pictures, saying he told him he was "being measured for a hoodie."
"If I am [to blame for the estrangement], tell me why and how I'll fix it. I'll try to fix it," Thomas said on 60 Minutes. "As always, I do love you and I wish we could sit down and talk about it. I'm not an ogre."
He later added, "July 18th, I'll be 77 years old. Most of the Markle men don't make it much past 80. So there's a good chance I might never seen my grandchildren. I'm not looking for pity. I'm just saying that's a reality."