Thomas Markle is threatening to take his estranged daughter Meghan and Prince Harry to court in order to see his grandchildren.
The 77-year-old former lighting director has yet to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s two children, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor, or his son-in-law.
But speaking to Fox News, Mr Markle said he was ready to take the matter to court ‘in the very near future’.
Mr Markle has had a strained relationship with his daughter ever since the royal wedding, before which he struck a deal with a paparazzi photographer to stage photos of him.
He then pulled out of walking Meghan down the aisle at the ceremony after suffering a heart attack, with Prince Charles taking his place.
Speaking at his Rosarito, Mexico home, Thomas Markle said he was ready to take his estranged daughter Meghan to court in order to see his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet
Meghan with Archie on his first birthday. Her father has never met the boy or his new sister Lili
The retired Hollywood lighting director, who lives 70 miles away from the Sussexes LA mansion, has not spoken to the Duchess of Sussex since she married Prince Harry three years ago. He is yet to meet his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor
Meghan later told Oprah that her father had ‘betrayed’ her and she ‘found it hard to reconcile’ with him. The relationship has only grown more tense as Mr Markle has continued to talk to reporters and paparazzi.
But with his ailing health continuing to deteriorate, Thomas has said he fears he will never get to meet Archie, 2, or baby Lilibet, who was born on June 4.
Speaking at his Rosarito, Mexico home, 70 miles from the Sussexes’ LA mansion, he said: ‘We shouldn’t be punishing [Lili] for Meghan and Harry’s bad behavior.
‘Archie and Lili are small children. They’re not politics. They’re not pawns. They’re not part of the game. And they’re also royal and entitled to the same rights as any other royal.’
Thomas Markle has pleaded for the chance to meet his grandchildren. He’s pictured with daughter Meghan (left) and her mother Doria Ragland (right)
‘… I will be petitioning the California courts for the rights to see my grandchildren in the very near future,’ he added.
In the interview, Mr Markle also slammed Prince Harry’s announcement of the upcoming release of his memoirs in 2022.
The book, published by Penguin Random House with a reported $20m advance, will cover the ‘highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned’ of his life as well as last year’s Megxit crisis.
But Mr Markle suggested that ‘after three sessions with the psychiatrists and Oprah Winfrey’, the Prince would not ‘have too much more to tell’.
Last month Mr Markle launched an attack Harry and his daughter, calling them ‘cold’ for refusing to see him – and saying even ‘axe murderers’ are visited by their family.
Meghan later told Oprah that her father had ‘betrayed’ her and she ‘found it hard to reconcile’ with him. The relationship has only grown more tense as Mr Markle has continued to talk to reporters and paparazzi
‘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.’
‘I’ll be very disappointed that I don’t get to hold my granddaughter,’ he said.
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.
‘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 also told Fox of the moment his daughter got her first taste of fame – and was immediately captivated by it.
He said it was when she was aged around 12 and he allowed her to be his date on the red carpet as he won an Emmy award.
‘Meghan turned to me and said “Daddy, I want to be famous just like you one day”,’ he said, adding that he told her family is what matters, not fame.