Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Family Dramas: Where Things Stand Ahead of Their 1-Year Wedding Anniversary
By Antoinette Bueno
Plenty has happened since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot last May 19 -- including the arrival of their son, Archie, and moving into their new home at Windsor Castle -- yet some of the biggest headlines about the couple continue to be focused on their family dynamics.
It's no secret that Meghan's strained relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, took center stage even before the wedding started, and continued after. Meanwhile, Harry has also experienced tension on his side as reports of him and his older brother, Prince William, not getting along began to surface.
Let's take a look back at the couple's respective family dramas, and see where they stand now ahead of the couple's first wedding anniversary.
Meghan's relationships with Thomas and her half-sister, Samantha:
"I thought this would be a nice way of improving my look, but obviously that all went to hell," he said. "I feel bad about it. I apologize for it and that’s all I can do. I can’t do much about it. That was a mistake."
"The unfortunate thing for me now is that I’m a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history rather than the dad walking her down the aisle," he added. "That really upsets me somewhat."
A royal source told ET after the interview that Meghan and Harry's relationship with Thomas was "fractured."
"It came as a surprise. They were not given advanced warning," the source said of Thomas deciding to speak out in a televised sit-down. "They understand he has been harassed by the paparazzi 24/7 but it’s hard for them to accept his apology when he’s again taking cash."
One month later, Thomas sat down with The Sun for his second on-camera interview, and gave his much less conciliatory thoughts that Meghan hasn't adjusted to royal life as effortlessly as it appeared.
"My thing about my daughter right now is that I think she is terrified," Thomas said. "I see it in her eyes, I see it in her face and I see it in her smile. I've seen her smile for years. I know her smile. I don't like the one I’m seeing now. This one isn’t even a stage smile -- this is a pained smile."
"It really worries me," he continued. "I think she's under too much pressure. There's a high price to pay to be married to that family."
He later claimed that both Meghan and the palace had shut him out.
"Since the [first] interview, the phone number that I call doesn't work anymore," he said. "The, I guess, liaison with the royal family never answers back, and there's no address I can write to, so I have no way of contacting my daughter."
"My message [to her] would be, 'I love you, I miss you, I'm sorry for anything that went wrong,'" he added. "And I want to be her child's grandfather and I want to be near them. I want to be a part of their life. I'd like to put our differences behind us, and get together. 'I miss you very much.'"
He also had a message for Harry.
"Get over [it]," he said he would tell his son-in-law if he had the chance. "I'm your new father-in-law. My answer to the royal family is, 'I'm Meghan Markle's dad, we're just a family now.'"
"I have been frozen out and I can’t stay silent," Thomas told The Mail on Sunday. "I have made dozens of attempts to reach my daughter via text and letters, but she and Harry have put up a wall of silence."
"Everyone says, why don’t I just shut the f**k up? That Meghan can’t speak to me because I’ll give away secrets. But that’s bulls**t. I’ve been accused of every terrible thing you can think of," he continued, before discussing the many alleged texts to her. "Her number hasn’t changed and they haven’t bounced back."
"She absolutely loves her father but feels betrayed," the friend said, referring to the multiple interviews Thomas has conducted with the press.
The source also said Thomas lied to her about his paparazzi photos before the wedding, though she was still willing to forgive him.
"Kensington Palace was trying to put a stop to the staged photos being leaked," the close friend said. "Meghan contacted her father before the wedding to ask if there was any shred of truth and he assured her there was no truth to the reports. So, he lied to Meghan. She absolutely trusted him when he said it was untrue."
"I'm delighted to hear that mother and child are doing well," Thomas, 74, wrote in a statement obtained by ET. "I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity, and honor."
"God bless the child and I wish him health and happiness, and my congratulations to my lovely daughter Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry, and God save the Queen," he added.
"I think a lot of the public is concerned, like, 'Why are you utilizing public channels?'" Samantha said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain. "Well, because private channels have been exhausted, and to no avail, and so when that happens, you know, what can one do except reach out publicly?"
"There is so much water under the bridge and so much has spun out of control that was never intended to," Samantha said after Vine asked what message she had for Meghan. "I think everybody was hurt by not being included or invited to the wedding, but I felt as though it could have all been nipped in the bud had everyone been included and we all just agreed to move forward with positive resolve, and the hurt feelings wouldn't have snowballed."
"But, believe it or not, it doesn't mean that we love you any less," Samantha continued. "I just think that families can be this way when there's confusion and when people are hurt. So, moving forward, I apologize and I wish things could be different."
"[Meghan] barely saw her. There were no birthdays, holidays," the friend said. "She's just been capitalizing on Meghan. She's changed her name, dyed her hair."
After the birth of Archie, Samantha did send out a positive statement and again pleaded for Meghan to talk to her.
"Family is family," she told DailyMailTV. What I think is incredible is that it's a great moment historically and although the adults have a lot of water under the bridge, I would really like to see everyone reach out. ... We've extended the olive branch and now it is Meghan's turn."
"We're all welcoming the baby -- Markles, Raglands, Sussexes, Windsors," she continued. "In terms of the gene pool, we've all made a contribution to this wonderful little boy who will probably grow up to be an exceptional man and we'd like to treat this as if we're all a big family. It would be nice not to react to what we've heard in the news but to personally meet him and let him judge us for himself."
She also said she was excited for Meghan.
"I want him to know he's got a big family and he's part of an amazing historical time and we're excited for him," she said. "We're excited for Meg and Harry -- I am really excited for her. I love her, she's my baby sister and it doesn't matter what we've all said back and forth but she's got to do the right thing. I just want to say, 'Meg, you've got a world here and family here [in the U.S.] that's excited for you.'"
Harry's relationship with Will:
Meghan, of course, wasn't the only one in the relationship making headlines due to reported family drama -- Harry and Will's relationship came under the microscope after Harry and Meghan tied the knot, with the brothers seemingly growing apart.
"Meghan and Kate have different interests and lead different lives," the source said of the brothers' wives.
One month later, a royal source told ET that the tension occurred when Will originally voiced his "concerns" about Meghan when she first started dating his brother. According to the source, the conversation didn't go over well with Harry, and they hadn't "mended completely."
"Other members of the royal family also expressed their unease about their relationship, but Harry was steadfast and absolutely besotted with Meghan," the source said.
Last month, a source told ET that the couple is also potentially planning to relocate to Africa for approximately two to six months after the birth of their baby, but the plans are in the "beginning stages," adding that the new "assignment" would be a way to harness their popularity in a commonwealth country. Buckingham Palace didn't deny the reports, stating, "Any future plans for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are speculative at this stage and no decision has been taken about future roles."
Still, in January, royal expert Katie Nicholl noted that the Fab Four -- as they've been dubbed by the press -- perhaps just need time for adjustment, particularly, when it comes to the relationship between Kate and Meghan.
"When Harry met Meghan, [as] the relationship was progressing, he was really keen to get Kate's stamp of approval," Nicholl said. "He wanted them to be close as sisters-in-law. I think they're still in an early stage of their relationship. They're still really getting to know each other and there are many, many more years to come. A firm friendship could well blossom, I don't think it's out of the question."
"I think people forget these are still [the] early days and I think it's a matter of all of them trying to find their feet as a foursome," Nicholl continued. "For so long we had the royal trio -- Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate. Now, of course, we've got Meghan."
And with the arrival of baby Archie, the four now have the common bond of parenthood. A day after Archie was born, William told reporters at the launch of the King's Cup Regatta in Greenwich, London, that he was "absolutely thrilled" over the latest addition to the royal family.
"I'm very pleased to welcome my own brother to the sleep deprivation society that is parenting," he joked.
Kate chimed in with her own well wishes for the new parents.
"It's such a special time, obviously with Louis and Charlotte just having their birthdays, it's such a great time of year to have a baby," she said of her two youngest children, who recently celebrated their first and fourth birthdays, respectively. "As William said, we look forward to meeting him."