Meghan Markle’s father and half sister have plenty to say about her Oprah interview
When things got tough, the official line from the royal family was to give “no comment,” the former Meghan Markle said in her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. But that’s not how we roll here in the Americas — at least as far as her father and half sister are concerned.
Both Thomas Markle and Samantha Markle have followed Prince Harry and Meghan’s sit-down with commentary of their own. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t happy with what Meghan said in the two-hour special that garnered more than 17 million viewers for CBS on Sunday night.
“I grieve a lot. I mean, I’ve lost my father. I lost a baby. I nearly lost my name. I mean, there’s the loss of identity,” Meghan said in the interview. “But I’m still standing, and my hope for people in the takeaway from this is to know that there’s another side.”
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In a bonus clip — the three-hour, 20-minute conversation was edited down to an hour and 25 minutes that aired on TV — she noted that her mother, Doria Ragland, “remained in silent dignity for four years watching me go through this.” Her father didn’t behave that way when the media tracked him down, though.
Of her half sibling Samantha Markle, with whom she shares a father and a half brother, Meghan said in the bonus clip, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about people that I really don’t know. I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows, and I wished I had siblings. I would have loved to have had siblings.”
Thomas Markle put the blame squarely on his daughter’s shoulders, saying he hadn’t heard from her or Harry since he was lying in a hospital bed after having a heart attack.
“She’s pretty much ghosted all of her family, on her mother’s side and my side. So she really had no one to reach out to. She would’ve had us, if she’d kept us,” he told “Good Morning Britain,” which runs on the same network that showed the interview in the U.K. (Piers Morgan, a cohost on “Good Morning Britain” since 2014, quit the show Tuesday following complaints over his on-air conduct after the interview aired in the U.S.)
Thomas Markle owned up to his own bad behavior — selling photos, sharing a personal letter, giving interviews — but insisted that his interactions with the media had been exaggerated by outlets that picked up the interviews and spread them globally. Markle, who lives in Mexico, said he did only half a dozen interviews, thinking that Meghan and Harry might one day respond to him.
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He said sharing Meghan’s letter to him was retaliation after her friends started talking to the media about him. It was, he said, “mostly lies.” But he noted that he had apologized for his actions “at least 100 times or so.”
“We all make mistakes,” Thomas declared before taking a couple shots at the prince’s past antics: “But I’ve never played naked pool, and I’ve never dressed up like Hitler.”
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Meanwhile, Samantha Markle, who is about 16 years older than Meghan, took issue with the duchess’ claim that they hadn’t seen each other for 18 or 19 years. Speaking to “Inside Edition,” she produced a photo of the two of them at a 2008 graduation as proof. That said, taking a photo with a person is not the same as having a relationship with them.
While Meghan said Samantha had changed her last name to Markle only after the future duchess began dating the future duke, Samantha cried foul and showed her own diploma and documentation of her name change from 1996.
“Markle’s always been my name,” said Samantha, who previously used the surname Grant.
Then there was the matter of Samantha’s recently released book, “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister: A Memoir (Part 1).”
“I think it would be very hard to ‘tell all’ when you don’t know me,” Meghan said of Samantha’s literary effort. “This is a very different situation from my dad. Betrayal comes from people you have a relationship with.”
The half sisters don’t have one, Meghan said.
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Still, Samantha said it wasn’t fair of Meghan to blame depression for anything. “Depression is not an excuse for treating people like dishrags and disposing of them.”
Meanwhile, during the Oprah interview, Meghan told a story about watching the movie “The Little Mermaid” a few years back while she and Harry were living at Nottingham Cottage.
“It came on and I was like, ‘Well, I’m just here all the time, so I may as well watch this,’” she said. “And I went, ‘Oh, my God! She falls in love with the prince and because of that, she has to lose her voice.’
“But by the end, she gets her voice back.”
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Breaking with its usual policy, the palace ultimately did comment on the hardships Meghan mentioned in the Oprah interview.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” said a Tuesday statement attributed to Queen Elizabeth II. “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
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