Thomas Markle has launched an extraordinary attack on Oprah Winfrey as he criticised the megastar for ‘using’ Harry and Meghan to promote her new TV ventures.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the birth of his new granddaughter, Lilibet, the 76-year-old also criticised the ‘cold’ couple for refusing to see him – saying even ‘axe murderers’ are visited by their family.
The retired Hollywood lighting director, who lives 70 miles away from the Sussexes’ LA mansion, has not spoken to the Duchess of Sussex, 39, since she married Prince Harry three years ago and has never met either of his grandchildren.
‘Of course it hurts, there are axe murderers in prison and their family comes to see them,’ he said in a bombshell television interview on 60 Minutes.
‘I’m not an axe murder. I made one dumb mistake and I’ve been punished for it. This show they’ve been on, they talk about compassion, there’s no compassion for me, no compassion for my family, and no compassion for the world.
‘If I had done something terribly wrong, that would be fine, but I haven’t.’
With his ailing health continuing to deteriorate, Thomas said he fears he will never get to meet Archie, 2, or baby Lilibet, who was born on June 4.
Thomas Markle (right) hasn’t seen or heard from his daughter Meghan (left) in three years
‘I’ll be very disappointed that I don’t get to hold my granddaughter,’ he said.
‘On July 18, I’ll be 77 years old. Most of the Markle men don’t make it much past 80.
‘I might never see my grandchildren. I’m not looking for pity. I’m just saying that’s a reality.
‘All I can say is that I hope eventually I get to see these grandchildren of mine. I’m a pretty good grandpa.’
He also weighed on the couple’s highly publicised and controversial television interview with Oprah in March by accusing the US talk show host of cashing in on the couple.
‘I have things to say. Oprah Winfrey, for one, I think is playing Harry and Meghan,’ he said.
‘I think she is using them to build her network and build her new shows and I think she’s taken advantage of a very weakened man and has got him to say things that you just shouldn’t be saying on television.
Thomas Markle accused US talk show host Oprah Winfrey of playing and cashing on on his daughter and son-in-law (pictured) during a television interview in March
‘She will disagree of course, and she may even sue me, I don’t care. But the bottom line is she is working Harry.’
Thomas was supposed to walk Meghan down the aisle on her wedding day in May 2018 but suffered a heart attack.
Prince Charles offered to walk his future daughter-in-law down the aisle in her father’s absence, a gesture Thomas said he appreciates.
In fact, he explained he would enjoy the chance to catch with Prince Charles over a beer and believes the pair have a lot in common – such as being ‘ghosted’ by their own children.
‘I think we would get on quite well and I think it’s unfortunate what’s happened to him as well,’ he explained.
Thomas Markle (pictured) hopes he can reconcile with his daughter Meghan Markle before it’s too late
‘He seems like a likeable guy and I appreciate the fact that he walked my daughter down the aisle. I could certainly not have asked for a better replacement, although I would have liked to do it myself.
‘I see them both ghosting their families completely and now they are alone in a huge house where they can probably accommodate 20 people in but it’s just the four of them.
‘I don’t think they are going to have relatives over for a barbecue next week or next month. I don’t know why.’
The Duchess of Sussex hasn’t spoken to her father in more than three years after he was caught staging snaps of himself being measured up for a wedding suit before the big day.
Asked if he still loved his daughter by host Tom Steinfort, he replied ‘of course I do’, but said he had ‘no idea’ whether the feeling was reciprocated.
Thomas Markle has pleaded for the chance to meet his grandchildren. He’s pictured with daughter Meghan (left) and her mother Doria Ragland (right)
‘Like I said, I have not spoken to her until two days before they got married when I was lying in a hospital bed, that’s the last conversation we had. I’ve not spoken to them since,’ he explained.
A deep rift between the father and daughter seemed to begin in earnest after he was caught staging the paparazzi photos in the lead-up to the wedding.
‘I’ve apologised a hundred times for it,’ Thomas said.
‘I’m not bitter, I’m confused. I just don’t have the answer. I want an answer. If I had done something terribly wrong that would be fine but I haven’t. I just want an answer.
‘I don’t know anybody that’s this cold to do this, and now Meghan’s doing it to me and Harry’s doing it to his father.
‘That’s a cold thing to do and it’s even more cold to do it to the Queen, who is in her nineties. That’s a cold thing to do.’
During the interview, family photographs were seen around Thomas’ California home – including of Meghan, his other daughter Samantha and son Thomas Jr.
Looking at a photograph of himself holding Meghan as a baby, he commented: ‘I would like to have that experience with my new granddaughter’.
The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry toured Australia five months after their wedding in 2018, where they announced they were expecting their first child (pictured at the Sydney Opera House)