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Ever since news broke that Meghan Markle was involved with Prince Harry, members of her family have jumped out of the woodwork to talk about her. One person that has been consistently giving interviews over the past few months is Meghan’s dad, Thomas Markle, which has many people wondering about their relationship. We’ve done some digging and have 12 things that most people don’t know about their relationship:
When she was a student at Immaculate Heart, her father would offer his lighting expertise to the school and its theatrical productions. “Out of the kindness of his heart, he would come for our own plays and musicals, and he would help with the lighting,” Christine Knudsen, Meghan’s former theology teacher, told CBC News. “So you’d just see him walking around. You knew who he was. He was just a kind and generous man. And even after Meghan graduated, he still came back to help.”
When she was growing up, Thomas would take her on road trips and he would make sure that his SUV had a TV and a VCR in the back just for his daughter. “I rigged my Toyota 4Runner with mattresses in the back for her and a TV and VCR,” he told The Sun. “We discovered she liked the music I did when I was a kid. Bands like The Shirelles — all the soul groups, she liked everyone. Every time we would stop at a truck stop for something to eat they would have the cassettes.”
In seventh grade, Meghan was faced with the task of choosing her ethnicity. There were only four options: White, black, Hispanic and Asian, and she had no idea which one to pick. When she told her dad about this, he gave her some of the best advice. “There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do. You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other – and one half of myself over the other,” she told Elle. “He said the words that have always stayed with me. ‘If that happens again, you draw your own box.’”
Before the former actress went away to Northwestern College in 1999, she wasn’t on the best of terms with her father. In a video taken by her best friend at the time, Ninaki Priddy, she revealed this but offered no details for why they had a falling out. “From my dad’s house you can see the Hollywood sign, but we aren’t going to go there because my dad and I aren’t on the best of terms,” Meghan said.
When she married her first husband, film producer Trevor Engleson, in Jamaica in 2011, her father reportedly wasn’t present. One hundred guests attended the beach ceremony including Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother. It’s common knowledge that Thomas Sr. wasn’t able to attend her nuptials with Prince Harry in May 2018 because he needed heart surgery, but it’s unclear why he missed her first wedding.
The former lighting director gave the Duchess her first nickname – Bean. He came up with it after reading the children’s fable Jack and the Beanstalk to her. Meghan was definitely his favorite of his three children. “When I first held her as a baby I fell madly in love with her,” he told The Sun. “I carried her for three years. I don’t think her feet ever touched the ground!”
After seeing a sexist Ivory dish soap ad that proclaimed “Women are fighting greasy pots and pans,” Meghan went home and told her dad about it and he was the one who told her to channel her feelings into letters of complaint. She then wrote a letter to Proctor and Gamble, the company that manufactures the dish soap, asking that they change the phrase to “People all over America.” She didn’t stop there, though. She also wrote to Hilary Clinton (who was First Lady), Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee, and women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred. Althgouh Proctor and Gamble never responded to her letter, the ad did change to “People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
In 1990, Thomas won $750,000 in the California State Lottery using five digits from the Suits star’s birthday. The money helped him send his daughter to Immaculate Heart, a private school. He also gave his son, Tom Jr., money to start a flower shop and bought his daughter Samantha a car.
Since her father was the lighting director and director of photography for Married…with Children, she spent some of her formative years hanging out on set after school. “Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of Married… with Children, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up,” she told Esquire in 2013. “There were a lot of times my dad would say, ‘Meg, why don’t you go and help with the craft services room over there? This is just a little off-color for your 11-year-old eyes.’”
Growing up, her father made sure to protect her from discrimination. One Christmas, when she was coveting a Barbie doll family, he made sure that her family including a black mom, a white dad and a child in both colors. “When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called The Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll, and two children. This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls,” she told Elle. “I don’t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one. On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each color. My dad had taken the sets apart and customized my family.”
The Duchess of Sussex’s half-brother Thomas Jr. claims that she hasn’t helped their father since he filed for bankruptcy in 2016, but a source close to Meghan claims that isn’t true and that she’s helped in “every way” including financially. According to the source, she’s helped him pay his bills over the years.
Ever since Thomas gave an interview to Piers Morgan in June where he revealed that he discussed Brexit and Donald Trump with Prince Harry, his youngest daughter hasn’t been in contact with him. According to him, he has sent texts to his palace contact but has received no reply. Prince Harry and Meghan warned Thomas to avoid the paparazzi and the press at all costs, so for Thomas to go to the press and get paid for interviews isn’t sitting well with the newlyweds. Sources close to Meghan claim that their relationship has been fraught for years and that a reconciliation is not on the table.