*The father of Meghan Markle gave his first televised interview since the drama surrounding his absence from her wedding to Prince Harry.
Appearing on “Good Morning Britain” this morning (June 18), Thomas Markle said that Prince Harry and her daughter, the Duchess of Sussex, were “very forgiving” when he called them to apologize for staging paparazzi shots.
As previously reported, Thomas secretly teamed up with Los Angeles-based photographer Jeff Rayner in May to fake lucrative pictures of himself preparing for the big day, such as pics showing him looking at news reports about his daughter’s wedding on a computer and getting measured for a suit.
Thomas told “Good Morning Britain” that his intention with the dubious pics was to change his image because the paparazzi kept taking “derogatory” photos of him.
“I thought this would be a nice way of me improving my look,” he said. “Well obviously that all went to hell. And I feel bad about it, I apologized for it and that’s all I can do. I can’t do much beyond that. That was a mistake… I didn’t do this for money, I did this to change my image.
“I spoke to them both and I apologized. I realized it was a serious mistake.. But hard to take it back… They were very forgiving, it wasn’t that difficult. Both Harry and Meghan were very forgiving about it.”
The incident didn’t derail plans for him to attend the ceremony in Windsor, England and Meghan had organized everything for him, including suit fittings, help with a speech, and someone to look after him in England, so Thomas “feels bad” that he had to pull out after having major heart surgery.
His ex-wife Doria Ragland was subsequently the only member of her family to attend the service, and Thomas said she did “very well” but he wishes she was sitting with someone in St George’s Chapel.
Explaining why the Markles didn’t get invites, he said, “Basically some 40/50/60 Markles came out of the woodwork all asking for invitations to the wedding and Meghan probably had the good sense to invite none because she would have offended the others.”
“More than anything I don’t want my daughter or my new son-in-law to be hurt by this,” he said. “I just want to have a nice normal relationship with my royal family as well now.”
Markle also revealed that Meghan cried over the phone when he informed her that he couldn’t make the trip, due to health issues.
Two days before the May 19 ceremony, Meghan confirmed that her dad wouldn’t be at the ceremony to walk her down the aisle because he wasn’t well enough to travel following major heart surgery.
“They were disappointed,” he said. “Meghan cried, I’m sure, and they both said, ‘Take care of yourself, we are really worried about you and the important thing is that you get better.’ I told them to worry about the wedding.”
Thomas said that he is “feeling much better,” and was “honored” that Prince Charles walked Meghan down the aisle of St George’s Chapel.
“I was very upset that it wasn’t me (walking her down the aisle) but the whole world was watching my daughter. I was very happy about that,” he 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.”
The 73-year-old, who said he had prepared a speech for the wedding, is now hoping to come to London to meet Harry in person once he is fully recovered.
Recalling how Harry asked for Thomas’ permission to marry the former “Suits” actress during a call, he said: “Harry asked for her hand on the phone and I said: ‘You are a gentleman, promise me you will never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I will grant you my permission’.”
If you haven’t already watch Thomas Markle’s interview above.