Thomas Markle Is ‘Disappointed’ After Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Announce They Will ‘Step Back’ From the Royal Family

Speaking his mind! Thomas Markle didn’t hold back with his reaction to the news that his estranged daughter Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry plan to “step away” from the British royal family.

“I’ll just simply say I’m disappointed,” the retired lighting director, 74, told Us Weekly exclusively just hours after Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, made their shocking announcement on Wednesday, January 8.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed in a statement on Instagram that they will be dialing back on their duties as members of the royal family after “many months of reflection and internal discussions.”

Thomas Markle Disappointed in Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan
Thomas Markle poses for a portrait on August 10, 2018 in San Diego, California. Thorpe/MEGA

“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the couple said in the joint statement.

The Suits alum and her husband continued, “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter.”

Since stepping into the royal spotlight, the retired actress’ relationship with her estranged father has become even more tenuous. Less than a week before her May 2018 wedding, Meghan was reportedly “upset and disturbed” after she discovered Markle was allegedly staging paparazzi photos of himself. A source told Us at the time that the relationship between Meghan and her father was always “strained” because of “his ill thought-out decisions and his lack of responsibility.”

One day later, Markle announced that he wouldn’t be attending the royal wedding after suffering a heart attack.

An insider later told Us that Markle was upset that he wasn’t a part of the birth of the Duke and Duchess’ son, Archie, in May 2019. “He’s as devastated as any grandfather would be who isn’t being given the chance to see his grandchild,” the source said at the time.

Thomas Markle Disappointed in Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex react as they view a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. Shutterstock

Shortly after Harry and Meghan made headlines over their decision to take time away from the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II and Buckingham Palace claimed that they were still “at an early stage” in discussing the major change.

“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” the statement read.

With reporting by Marc Lupo

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