Thomas Markle has revealed for the first time how Prince Harry asked her his daughter Meghan’s hand in marriage.
During an exclusive video interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the 73-year-old recounted how Harry, 33, phoned him to ask permission to tie the knot with former actress Meghan, 36.
Thomas said it was Suits star Meghan who first broke the news via a phone call that Harry had proposed, before Harry himself came on the phone to seek his future father-in-law’s blessing.
“Actually, Meghan told me first and then a few times after that, Harry got on the phone with Meghan, they called me together, and Harry asked for her hand over the phone,” said Thomas.
“I said, ‘’You’re a gentleman, promise me you’ll never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I give you my permission.'”
Thomas confirmed he has yet to meet Harry in person but has spoken with him several times on the phone.
Thomas also recounted how Meghan first broke the news of her royal romance.
“The first phone calls were ‘Dad, I have a new boyfriend.’ And I said, ‘That’s really nice.’ And then the next call was like, ‘He’s British.’ And I said, ‘That’s really nice.’ And eventually the third time round was, ‘He’s a Prince.’
“At that point she said, ‘It’s Harry.’ And I said, ‘Oh Harry, okay.’ And she said, ‘Of course, we’ll have to call him H so no-one knows we’re talking about Harry. It’s H.’ And then we talked about that, and eventually I spoke to him as well. Very nice man. Gentleman. Very likeable.”
“Of course it’s ‘wow’, it comes out as a ‘wow’, but this is my daughter and she’s certainly a prize for him as well,” added Thomas. “He’s great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter’s been a princess since the day she was born.”
Thomas detailed his first phone conversation with his future son-in-law, saying it veered mostly onto politics.
“He said ‘Hello Thomas’, and I said, ‘Hello Harry’. It became a conversation back and forth mostly about politics. He was asking me how I was feeling that day, and I was telling him how unhappy I was with the President, or with the idea of Trump, and that’s how it began,” he said.
“Then we talked a little bit about how they met and how happy they were with each other, and that was pretty much it for the first conversation.”
“[I wasn’t nervous], he’s quite easy to talk to. He’s a very comfortable person to talk to. I wasn’t nervous, 5,000, 10,000 miles apart it’s hard to be nervous with someone you’re talking to on the phone.”
Thomas had been intending to walk Meghan down the aisle at the royal wedding in May, but was forced to pull out due to ill health.
He underwent heart surgery just days before the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Instead, he watched his daughter marry into the royal family from a B&B room thousands of miles away, after successful surgery in Los Angeles.
“She was beautiful, it was incredible watching her. I cried a little bit about it,” he said. “She was so beautiful walking down that aisle… and so I was very proud. I couldn’t see a better moment in my life… the whole world was watching my daughter I was very happy about that.”
Thomas dismissed speculation he’d never intended to attend the wedding in the first place, insisting: “Absolutely, from the very start. I absolutely wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle. Absolutely.”
“I knew I could rise to that occasion. I’d be limping down the aisle, but I knew none the less that I could walk my daughter down the aisle. Of course. I definitely wanted that. That was in the plan. That would have to be.”
Thomas said several secret suit and shoe fittings had been arranged for him in Los Angeles, and he’d been kept updated on all the wedding plans by Meghan and Harry.
“I was excited about that and ready for it. Me going to England, that was set, it was all set in place for me to go,” he said.
Thomas said even after it emerged he’d worked with the paparazzi on staged photos, he was still intending to attend the wedding with Meghan and Harry’s blessing.
“I didn’t do this for money I did this to change my image. For one whole year I was presented as a hermit hiding out in Mexico. I was looking to change my image and obviously that was a mistake that went wrong,” he said.
“I spoke to them both and I apologised. I realised it was a serious mistake… They were very forgiving, it wasn’t that difficult. Both Harry and Meghan were very forgiving about it..”
Unfortunately for Thomas, his health began to fail just days before the wedding; he said the stress of everything that had happened pushed an existing heart condition over the edge, and he was taken to hospital.
“I started getting heart palpitations and I said I have to cancel. It’s because I didn’t take care of the heart problem before, so I had to get a friend to take me back to the hospital across the border in the States were I was told that my condition was very bad and they had to operate and I had heart surgery,” recalled Thomas.
“I told her Meghan before I was going in for the surgery…This is what the doctors called the widow maker – it would have killed me.
“They were disappointed. Meghan cried, I’m sure she did cry, and they both said ‘take care of yourself, we are worried about you’. They said the important thing was I get better.”
Thomas said he was thankful to Prince Charles for stepping in to walk Meghan part of the way down the aisle.
“I was honoured. I can’t think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles. He looked very handsome and my daughter looked beautiful with him,” he said.
“I was jealous I wish I’d been there. I wish it had been me but thank God he was there and thank him for that. It might have been a treat for him as he never had a daughter.
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Thomas added: “The unfortunate thing for me now is 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.
“It was a very emotional moment for me, like I said I cried about it. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle. I wanted that moment. But I’m thankful for everything the way it went.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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