LONDON (Reuters) – Thomas Markle, the father of Meghan, said her new husband Prince Harry told him to give U.S. President Donald Trump a chance and that he had an open mind about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“I was complaining I didn’t like Donald Trump. He said “give Donald Trump a chance”. I sort of disagreed with that, but I still like Harry,” Markle told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in his first broadcast interview since the royal wedding.
Thomas Markle, 73, said he had spoken to Prince Harry by phone in the months leading up to the wedding. Harry, Markle said, told him that he was “open to the experiment” of Brexit.
Kensington Palace, which speaks for Harry and his brother William, declined to comment on the interview, though the statements by Meghan’s father may bring unease to the royal family, who try to remain politically neutral.
In the days leading up to the May 19 wedding of his daughter and Prince Harry, Markle gave a flurry of sometimes contradictory statements to an American news website about whether he would attend.
Markle spoke of his regret that he wasn’t well enough to walk his daughter down the aisle as she married Prince Harry, but said he was pleased that Harry’s father, Prince Charles, was able to step in.
Markle had been due to take part in the ceremony, but he eventually stayed away, saying he needed heart surgery.
In the end, Meghan walked down the first part of the aisle unescorted, before she was joined by Charles, heir to the throne.
A former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, Thomas Markle, said that he was sad to have missed the ceremony, but also proud of his daughter and grateful to Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son Charles for stepping in.
“Watching it was difficult for me, because I wasn’t there, but at the same time… I couldn’t have been more proud,” he said.
“How can I ask for a better replacement than Charles? I was thrilled to tears that he was doing that for me. I just wish it had been my hand holding my daughter, not his. But he was wonderful to them.”
Markle also apologised for staging photos with a photographer which contributed to the furore around him ahead of the wedding.
“I thought that would be a nice way of improving my look. Well obviously that all went to hell,” he said.
Meghan’s parents are divorced and while mother Doria Ragland, 61, has met Harry and attended the wedding, Thomas Markle is yet to meet the prince.
However, he said that Harry had rung him to ask permission to marry Meghan, and that he was very likeable.
Markle said that though Harry was a prince, his daughter, former star of the TV show Suits, was more than a match for him.
“He’s great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter’s been a princess since the day she was born,” he said.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge