Saturday, 11 August 2018 20:11

Prince Harry and the Markles: The Reality Show

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Did Thomas Markle, Sr. “lie” to Prince Harry?

That’s the question burning up the Daily Mail and British radio waves this weekend.

Commentators claim that Prince Harry telephoned his soon-to-be father-in-law, Thomas Markle, on May 11—eight days before Harry’s wedding to Meghan, and asked him…well, we don’t know exactly what.  Because Harry and Thomas had never met nor had they ever spoken before then.  So, how do we know for sure who said what to whom, when Thomas Markle can’t even be sure himself who exactly was speaking to him on the telephone?

Remember that crank telephone call during Kate Middleton’s first pregnancy that resulted in a nurse being found mysteriously hung to death?  Even a harmless joke can get you whacked, or else so tormented that you end up whacking yourself, when the British royal family’s involved.

But back to the “lie.”

The gist of the news coming from the U.K. (and perhaps directly from Scotland, where Prince Harry and wifey Meghan are now holed up with the Queen in Balmoral’s highlands) is that Thomas Markle lied to Prince Harry! Yes, lied.  Such a tough word, that.  The purported lie, of course, is that Thomas allegedly claimed he was not colluding with “paparazzi” when all those photos of Thomas taken in Rosarito, Mexico, suddenly appeared in British newspapers just before the wedding.

You remember those photos—the ones of Thomas getting fitted for a wedding morning suit (yes, that is what they call them in Britain, even if your wedding is in the middle of the day), Thomas looking raptly at photos of Harry and Meghan online from inside an internet cafe, Thomas getting a haircut and shave from a barber, Thomas buying a modest bag of groceries, and Thomas gazing longingly at a book of English castles and royalty while dawdling inside a Starbuck’s coffee shop.  Thomas, stretching his arms out as a Mexican assistant shopkeeper from a piñata party store, masquerading as a Mexican tailor (or could he be both, multitasking?), measures his big belly—that one is my personal favorite.

Whoever thought these photos were NOT staged is…well…not smart.

The clarity of the photos, the complete closeness of the photographer to his subject, and the sheer number and variety of photos and places, all taken within charming Rosarito—all these factors indicate to Thomas posing for a snapper.

And then, the Daily Mail obtained store surveillance footage that showed Thomas clearly being directed by the photographer.

Well.  Well, well, well.

The outrage, according to British commentators, is that Thomas’s denial then caused Prince Harry to issue a threat and admonishment to the news community that Thomas was being harassed, Meghan was being harassed, and that this harassment would not be tolerated.
But so what?

For this sin of Thomas having drawn a minute of newsy attention away from imperious Meghan and Prince Harry, Thomas was and still is being pilloried in the press and especially in commentary online.  And Meghan Markle and her public relations advisors (such as they are), are now using Thomas’s “lie” as a reason to go “no contact.”

Yes—“no contact” for Meghan Markle’s father. You remember Thomas—he’s the guy who fathered Meghan Markle, sent her to the priciest private schools, bought Meghan the wonderful mixed-race “Barbie Doll” family she blogged about, attended her school plays and graduations and was always there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her, paid for Meghan’s ultra-exclusive Northwestern University education, paid for travel there and back, used his brother’s political connections to get Meghan a cushy, elite college internship with the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, used his Hollywood connections to get her parts in television shows, paid for numerous trips abroad, kept a roof over her head and food on the table for years and years and years.

Thomas Markle—that guy.

Kensington Palace (which is a euphemism for the public relations folks who “work” for Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William) is also choking on the fact that Thomas Markle had the guts to assume that his time posing for these photos was worth something, and had the nerve to get paid.

Paid!  What, what?  As in…money?  The nerve of that Markle man!

Funny how the royal family didn’t make these objections over taking money when Prince Andrew and his then-wife, Sarah Ferguson, accepted $500,000.00 from Hello! Magazine for a huge spread on their “happy family life” at Sunninghill, in the heady heydays of their then-marriage’s imminent decline.
At the time, Andrew was 4th in line to the throne.

And funny again, how the royal family didn’t make these objections over taking money when Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, wed Canadian beauty Autumn Kelly—in the very same Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel as Harry did—and Peter took even more than $500,000.00 for 60 pages of wedding pics that—gasp!—including candid camera shots of the Queen!

At the time, Peter was 11th in line to the throne—and technically, a commoner, to boot!

Parliament members complained that the Queen’s grandson taking cash for photo flash was tacky, and even undermined the Crown.  But Peter was still allowed to keep all that cash.

How much money did Thomas Markle make from his little foray around Rosarita?

It isn’t clear, but estimations run around $40,000.00, if even that much.

And although Thomas descends from royal stock himself—Scotland’s beloved King Robert the Bruce is one, England’s medieval King Edward Edward III, and Anne of Foix-Candale, a French royal who married well and became a queen of Hungary and Bohemia (which surely puts Thomas somewhere in the royal line of succession, albeit in the several hundreds)—Thomas didn’t take nearly as much money for his pics as Prince Andrew and Peter Phillips were paid for theirs.
What bothers Thomas Markle the most, though, is that his daughter has used his acceptance of the paparazzi cash (and then, understandably, fibbing about it) to cut off all contact with him.  He avers that he is upset, even devastated, and anyone with adult children tends to sympathize with him.  One day, when Meghan and Harry have ungrateful children, perhaps they will gain some insight, but alas, too late for any reunion with Thomas.  Meanwhile, Meghan’s mother (and Thomas’s second ex-wife), Doria Ragland, has been publicly lauded for her “dignity” at the wedding, despite swirling rumors that Doria had been paid off by either Oprah Winfrey (who showed up as an honored wedding guest despite not knowing either the bride or the groom), or by the royal family in a bid to keep Doria from doing a blabby deal with Oprah Winfrey.   Despite having an extended family herself, no relatives of any kind were present at the wedding except Doria—giving the false impression that, like the Virgin birth, Meghan had just kind of sprung into life, well, magically.  Fatherless. Brotherless. Sisterless. Without cousins, nieces or nephews.

A kind of orphan, or perhaps a goddess, sprung into being by pure nature, who longs for connection with the lesser human world.

This has enabled Prince Harry to become a hero, at least in his own mind. Talking about his own wealthy, landed clan embracing Meghan over the Christmas holidays, Harry publicly mused that the royals “were the family I suppose she never had.”

Now, we all know how much Prince Harry enjoys playing hero. This is why he went to Sandhurst and joined the army, went to Afghanistan for a short time, flails around with a polo stick, and does the occasional good deed. But using his marriage to be a rescuer of an almost 40-year-old divorced feminist actress whose sex life is, well, seasoned?

Nobody’s buying this story.

But we all want to buy more of Thomas Markle’s photos and his story!

His True Story, especially--whether reality TV or on the big screen.

Now, that will be something to see!


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Sarah Whalen

sarahw2Sarah Whalen is a university journalism instructor, attorney and author.

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