Meghan Markle's Father Thomas Markle Breaks Silence on Daughter's Decision to Step Back From Royal Duties

Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle's father, is speaking out after his daughter and Prince Harry announced Wednesday their decision to "retire" as senior members of the British Royal Family. In a statement to Us Weekly via Entertainment Tonight, Markle, who has had a notably contentious relationship with the Duchess of Sussex ever since he was caught up in a paparazzi scandal just days ahead of her May 2018 wedding, echoed the sentiment of many others, admitting he is "disappointed" with the couple's decision.

"I'll just simply say I'm disappointed," the retired lighting director, who has had little to no contact with the royal couple, told the outlet.

Markle's statement came just hours after the Sussex's, in an unprecedented move on Wednesday, announced that they would be stepping back from their royal duties in order to "work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen." In their statement, which was reportedly released prior to the couple informing any other members of the Royal Family, they added that they will split their time between the United Kingdom and North America, which will allow them to explore new charitable endeavors while also allowing them to continue supporting their royal patronages.

The announcement followed months of scathing tabloid reports about the royal couple, particularly Meghan, and after Prince Harry filed lawsuits against several outlets. Of course, Markle himself is very familiar with the scathing headlines, as he himself has seen his name in them.

Just days ahead of the royal wedding, Markle was caught in a complex paparazzi scandal, in which he staged photos. Days after news of the scandal broke, he suffered a heart attack and was unable to attend the nuptials, where he was set to walk his daughter down the aisle. Since that scandal, their relationship has only further soured, with Markle slamming the royal family and also releasing a letter his daughter had written to him.

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"It is with a heavy heart that I write this, not understanding why you have chosen to take this path, turning a blind eye to the pain you're causing," it read in part. "Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces — not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice to not tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this. Something I will never understand."

Markle and his daughter have reportedly had no contact and he has not yet met his grandson, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, whom the couple welcomed in 2019.