Do you envy or pity Meghan Markle? That’s a question many of us have asked ourselves the last couple of years. From being a solid actress on Suits to becoming a literal duchess in the English royal family, Meghan’s journey has been as wild as it’s been controversial.
Most should know by now that she’s been facing hateful scrutiny and criticism from the moment she was identified as Prince Harry’s girlfriend. The criticism and hate continued well into the marriage and parenthood, so much so that Prince Harry and Meghan straight-up decided to leave the royal family.
Harry and Meghan have sued numerous British outlets for their alleged hateful, invasive, and false coverage of Meghan. The lawsuit is still ongoing but it’s still worth it to examine just how brutally the press has slandered Meghan in recent years. One example over which Meghan and Harry have gone to court includes a letter allegedly written by Meghan to her estranged dad Thomas.
As most tabloids make unbelievably false and misleading accusations about Meghan’s relationship with her father, we should take a step back and consider how their relationship has evolved over the years. There isn’t much left of it but it’s safe to say that Meghan tried to keep it intact for a long, long time. Her resilience and strength tell us that’s okay to fight for those we love but it’s also okay to stop fighting after a while and consider what matters.
Meghan and her dad had a very “close-knit” relationship while growing up
Things hadn’t been so fraught between the father and daughter. In fact, before the Royals took over their lives, Meghan had recalled her childhood with love, claiming that her father was nothing but affectionate, passionate, and sincere to her as she was growing up. Though her parents had gotten divorced when she was two, she recalled that her father tried to keep things as close to normal as possible. She told Vanity Fair:
I never saw [my parents] fight. We would still take vacations together. My dad would come on Sundays to drop me off, and we’d watch Jeopardy! eating dinner on TV trays, the three of us… We were still so close-knit.
She even said in the same interview that her dad would support her as she tried to navigate her biracial identity. When a teacher marked her down as Caucasian during a school survey, Thomas reportedly got angry at the teacher and told Meghan, “you draw your own box.” Meghan said about her father:
He wanted me to find my own truth.Meghan Markle
Another cute anecdote Meghan shared was about how she would watch movies until the very end of the credits so she could see her father’s name — Thomas had been a lighting director and a director of photography. So it’s clear that these two shared a very special and by many respects, a very normal relationship up until something snapped.
Things took a turn when the media knocked on their door
Media plays quite a central role in this story. After Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, Thomas and his family found themselves getting more and more entrenched with the media. In the beginning, Thomas’s interviews with the media were positive and he said he couldn’t be more pleased with his daughter’s future with the royal family. Thomas even gave his blessings to the union.
Just before the wedding, Thomas was seen reading a book about the royal family and even getting tailored for his suit. The photos turned out to be staged and Thomas said that it was the doing of his other daughter and Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha. Those were the first indications that Thomas and Samantha Markle would have no qualms about sharing personal details about Meghan’s life with the tabloids. Public attention came first, and Meghan always second.
Thomas allegedly suffered a heart attack before the big royal wedding. Meghan called him in tears and was disheartened that her dad wouldn’t be able to walk her down the aisle but she made sure to tell him to take care of himself.
Prince Harry reportedly called Thomas a few months after the wedding to discuss the heart attack but Thomas hung up the call because he was so distraught. The fact that Thomas and Samantha kept running to the media to discuss every little thing that took place in the family added more fuel to the fire.
Thomas’s interview with Good Morning Britain became another trigger because he revealed intimate details of his conversations with Harry. Thomas was reportedly paid for his appearance. Meghan got incredibly upset that her own father would affiliate himself with the media to this extent.
Meghan begged her father to “stop” speaking to the press if he loved her
This is perhaps the inciting event, one that forever changed the relationship between a woman and her father. In February 2019, the Daily Mail published parts of a letter that Meghan wrote to Thomas a couple of months after her wedding.
The hand-written letter conveys all of Meghan’s feelings about her dad’s parlay with the press. She told him that he had been lying to the press about her life and that the fact he would choose to communicate with her via the press hurt her deeply.
I have only ever loved, protected, and defended you, offering whatever financial support I could, worrying about your health…and always asking how I could help […] If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop. Please allow us to live our lives in peace.
That had been Meghan’s final attempt at retaining some sort of connection with her father. She’d had too much of the media and her family exploiting her relationship with Harry. She said Thomas’s actions have been causing “unwarranted” pain, the pain she had had to endure as she was pregnant with Archie.
But Thomas never stopped, leaving Meghan with only one choice
Instead of listening to his daughter’s please, Thomas handed over the contents of the letter to the press yet again. This ultimately became the straw that broke the camel’s back. Meghan broke off relations with her father and hasn’t looked back since.
She even went to sue the publication that released the letter, claiming that it was a piece of personal correspondence that was written during anguish and distress. While announcing the lawsuit, Prince Harry said :
Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences […] I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.
As the lawsuit hearings continue, Thomas has claimed that he’s going to be testifying against Meghan. For a father who claimed to love his daughter so much since the beginning, he didn’t bat an eyelid when it came to attacking her character in public.
Meghan has been depicted by the press as though she never loved or supported her father even though she tried over and over again to mend fences with him. The slander continued and eventually, Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the Royal Family. In the last couple of months, they’ve built a beautiful life with their son in North America.
The fact that Meghan’s own father showed no love for her in the past couple of years may have reinforced her protective tendencies against her son. She wanted her son to be raised away from the pressures of the royal family or the media. Thomas’s love was conditional and artificial, so Meghan had to make sure her love for her family would remain as pure and unconditional as possible.
Fight for the people you love — but acnowledge your boundaries
Relationships between children and parents are complicated. Meghan’s connection with her dad had been fraught with issues for years but they really escalated as she came upon greater fame. Whereas some parents are known to give up everything for their children, Thomas went in the opposite direction. Meghan tried her best to keep her dad around, tried her best to show him her love, but it was all for naught. Some parents don’t think in their kids’ best interests; it’s unfortunate but commonplace.
While it’s wonderful to fight for the people you love, sometimes you’ve got to know that enough is enough. Some people aren’t going to respond to your help ever, and you have to back down before you get hurt even more. You’re not giving up, you’re just being considerate of your own mental and emotional health. Therefore, if you have someone in your life who you continue fighting for, even if it tears you apart, ask yourself: how much is it costing you and whether it’s worth it at all?
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