When Meghan Markle accepted Prince Harry's marriage proposal, she knew that joining the royal family would come with its inevitable pitfalls.
There were catty stories from her former best friend Ninaki Priddy, as well as from an easily forgettable ex-boyfriend. And, like a moth to a flame, her half-sister, Samantha Markle, seized the opportunity to add her 2 pence (and doesn't seem to have stopped talking—or tweeting—since).
But no amount of duchess training could have possibly prepared Meghan for the bombshell news that her father was also in cahoots with the press.
Thomas Markle's decision to set up his own pap pictures, so he could "control" his image, was surprising but, with just days to go before the royal wedding, prides were swallowed and Meghan still begged her father to walk her down the aisle (he later declined the invite after suffering a heart attack that required he undergo a procedure).
The naiveté that led to Thomas making such an ill-conceived deal with the press felt excusable at the time. Here was a man who had chosen to retire to a small coastal town in Mexico so he could lead a quiet life away from the spotlight. It was inevitable that the media attention which accompanied his daughter marrying into the House of Windsor would feel overwhelming. So while it was an embarrassing mistake, no lasting damage was done.
How wrong we were. Two months after that fairy-tale wedding, any excuses painting the former lighting director as a helpless victim of media intrusion are now out the window as he continues to seek the limelight that comes with being the dad of a new duchess.
Rather than work on privately mending his relationship with his daughter, he seems content to taunt Meghan via interviews with the media. Judging by his inability to shut up, one would think he's thoroughly enjoying having his name in the headlines.
"If I chose in a month, or couple of months, to go to England—I want to see my daughter. I'm thinking about it," Thomas told The Sun earlier this month. "I don't care whether she is pissed off at me or not . . . I'm not going to wave flags and make a fool of myself. I'd find a hotel room and try to reach them."
Something doesn't quite compute there.
If recent history is anything to go by, he'll choose to bring the paparazzi along for the ride as well. (Not that they wouldn't be all over him, regardless.)
But this weekend Thomas' attacks reached a new low. In an explosive interview with the Mail On Sunday, which took place over an exhausting-sounding nine hours in three days, Thomas says his daughter would "be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today. Everything that Meghan is, I made her."
Is it possible that this 74-year-old man is jealous of his own daughter?
He continued, "They have Meghan treating her father in a way that Harry's mother, Princess Diana, would have loathed. That's not what Diana stood for."
Weaponizing Princess Diana's name like that isn't only nasty—it leaves Meghan with a heartbreaking conundrum. Daring to bring Harry's mum into the conversation means that even if Meghan decides to forgive her father, Thomas' chances of ever having a relationship with Prince Harry are almost impossible (any likelihood he'll have the same bond Prince William shares with his in-laws, the Middletons, now little more than a pipe dream). What couple doesn't know how difficult it can be when there's a fraught relationship with the in-laws?
But Thomas himself also told the Mail on Sunday, "I don't care if Harry never speaks to me again, I'll survive."
His insistence on baiting the royal family ("Who cares these days about a dusty old crown?"), while also relaying candid details of private phone conversations between him and his new son-in-law, have only signaled that he's not to be trusted. Since more exposure to the royal family would only give him more to talk about with press, that might explain why Meghan and Harry have allegedly avoided his calls since he gave that tell-all TV interview to Good Morning Britain in June. When referring to the silence since his last conversation with his daughter, he says, "I could actually die soon. Does she want this to be the last thing we've said to each other?"
Thomas claims his only motivation for talking so much is to have a relationship with his daughter, but considering he's resorted to emotional blackmail, he seems more hell-bent on destroying any chance he's got for a reconciliation.
"The unfortunate thing for me now," he said on GMB, "is that I'm a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history, rather than the dad walking her down the aisle. That upsets me somewhat."
Whether he's upset because he didn't get to fulfill his daughter's request or because he wasn't the center of attention remains to be seen, but his continued public harassment of his daughter is ensuring he's more than just a footnote in Meghan's story.
Harry got heat last Christmas for saying that, by joining the royal family, Meghan had gained the family she never had. Sadly, as the world now realizes, he was pretty spot on.
Unfortunately this nightmare Meghan seems far from over. "I tell you, I've just about reached my limit on Meghan and the royal family," Thomas exclaimed to the Mail on Sunday. "I'm about to unload on them."
"They want me to be silent, they want me to just go away. But I won't be silenced," he insists. "I refuse to stay quiet."