What is Thomas Markle’s net worth and what has he said about being paid for stories?

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MEGHAN Markle did not help her ailing dad with medical bills before her wedding, as he already had enough cash from selling stories about her, court papers claim.

However Thomas Markle maintains his multiple media appearances and pic sessions weren’t done “for money – I did this to change my image”.

Thomas Markle spoke to GMB on March 9 2021

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Thomas Markle spoke to GMB on March 9 2021Credit: ITV

What is Thomas Markle’s net worth?

Thomas Markle, 76, is said to have a net worth of about $2million (£1.4million), as of March 2021, according to Wealthy Persons.

However that estimate cannot be substantiated.

In 2018, Showbiz Cheat Sheet reported: “When Meghan was growing up her father made a living as a lighting director who worked on the sets of popular TV shows such as Married… With Children and General Hospital.

“In 1990, he won $750,000 in the California State Lottery. Unfortunately, bad investments later caused him to file for bankruptcy but not before using some of the money to pay for Meghan’s Catholic school tuition.

“When it comes to means of income, Markle Sr. said he collects $1,500 per month from a retirement account and another $2,700 in social security.”

The Duchess of Sussex provided “substantial financial support to her father from January 2014” that stopped in 2018 when they cut contact, according to court papers in 2020.

The Duchess of Sussex provided 'substantial financial support to her father' said court papers

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The Duchess of Sussex provided ‘substantial financial support to her father’ said court papersCredit: PA:Press Association

The Royal had submitted court documents showing her previously “very close” dad had earned more than enough to cover bills for his heart treatment.

The papers showed Thomas himself had recognised his story payments covered the £1,996 insurance excess he needed as his daughter was preparing to marry Prince Harry.

The court papers reportedly said Thomas’s medical bills “would appear to exceed and offset the excess medical cost of roughly $2,500.”

According to The Telegraph, the papers detailed the dad and daughter’s financial dealings, showing that Thomas helped fund Meghan’s college place with a loan.

Meghan then “began making voluntary financial contributions to her father” when she started earning to give him “personal financial support”.

The papers reportedly stated: “The Claimant’s father gave occasional financial support to the Claimant, just as she provided reciprocal financial support to him once she began earning.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are estranged from her dad, Thomas

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are estranged from her dad, ThomasCredit: PA:Press Association

What has Thomas Markle said about being paid for stories?

Thomas Markle told TMZ in 2018 that he had been offered anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for interviews after the royal engagement between Prince Harry and Meghan was announced but, back then, he had turned all of them down.

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Fast forward a few years, however, and despite accusing his daughter of throwing away “every girl’s dream” for money, he has been slammed for “trading in his relationship with his daughter for cash”.

March 2021

He spoke to Good Morning Britain after his daughter told Oprah Winfrey she felt ‘betrayed’ by her father posing for pics, and speaking to the media about their fraught relationship.

Thomas said: “This thing about the press, I’ve done maybe three, or six articles for the press.

“And as everyone knows, every other newspaper takes those articles and suddenly it’s 100 articles. But I’ve never done that many.”

It’s not known whether he got paid for his appearance.

An emotional Thomas Markle defended himself on GMB, March 9 2021

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An emotional Thomas Markle defended himself on GMB, March 9 2021Credit: ITV

His GMB interview came a few days after he spoke with CBS about the impending birth of Harry and Meghan’s second baby – a girl.

“I wish Meghan and Harry a successful, healthy birth and I hope some day I get to see my grandchildren,” he said.

Although CBS shelled out millions of dollars to air Oprah’s interview, it’s not known whether Thomas received a fee for his chat with the broadcaster.

July 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, Thomas suggested to the couple: “This is the worst time in the world to be whining.”

The then 76-year-old did not receive payment for speaking exclusively to The Sun.

He spoke to The Sun in the wake of the publication of the explosive royal biography Finding Freedom, which tears into him for selling photos in the run-up to their wedding in 2018.

The book also includes claims that Meghan, 39, herself set up pap shots when she was starring in TV drama Suits before she met Harry.

Thomas said: “Apparently Meghan has made deals with the paparazzi. She planned it.”

It was reported that Meghan and Harry had 'rejected' the idea of getting help to protect her father

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It was reported that Meghan and Harry had ‘rejected’ the idea of getting help to protect her fatherCredit: Instagram

January 2020

In January 2020, appearing on Channel 5’s documentary Thomas Markle: My Story, he admitted to still making money from his pre-wedding staged pics every time they are used.

He said: “It’s time to look after Daddy.

“I didn’t do it for money. I did it to change my image.”

Admitting he was still making money off the images, he added: “The reality is that those images will sell forever.”

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Thomas slammed Meghan’s “picky” claims that she supported him while insisting that he is “comfortable” living off a $5,600-per-month retirement fund in Mexico.

Thomas did, however, admit for the Channel 5 doco that Meghan, who he said became a multi-millionaire while working on Suits earning $40,000 per episode, once gave him $5,000 as a Christmas present.

He continued: “I’ve only ever asked her for a couple of grand.”

Meghan Markle stepping off a private jet in Nice, France

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Meghan Markle stepping off a private jet in Nice, FranceCredit: The Mega Agency

After the documentary was aired, the Mirror and the i reported that he still takes a 30 per cent cut on the pre-wedding photos every time they’re used.

“The Duchess’ dad struck up a deal with a paparazzi photographer and posed for a number of shots including him being measured for a suit and reading a book about the UK in a coffee shop.

“They were then sold to newspapers and magazines around the world for up to $100,000, with Thomas getting a 30 per cent cut,” the Mirror added.

The i accused him of “trading in his relationship with his daughter for cash”.

Also in January 2020 he slammed claims that criticism of Meghan has been racist.

He told Good Morning Britain that any criticism was “justified” after she and Prince Harry preached about eco-travel. 

It was a busy month for Thomas, as he also told US Weekly in January 2020 that he was disappointed to hear his daughter and Prince Harry were to “step back” from their royal duties.

Speaking to GMB in the fall-out over the Oprah Winfrey interview

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Speaking to GMB in the fall-out over the Oprah Winfrey interview

September 2019

Thomas told of his grief at not being allowed to meet his royal grandson Archie.

Speaking from his home in Mexico for the first time since Archie was born in May 2019, he told the Mail On Sunday: “There was never any problem between Meghan and me until recently.

“I’ve stayed quiet because Meghan was pregnant with Archie but I’m speaking out now because they and their PR people are continuing to ghost me out of her life.

“Of course I’m disappointed not to see Archie. I had hoped becoming a mother would mellow Meghan and she would reach out.”

He also blasted the eco-preaching royal couple for their “hypocritical” approach following their private jet scandal.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not offered to let Thomas meet his grandson Archie

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not offered to let Thomas meet his grandson ArchieCredit: AP:Associated Press

January 2019

Thomas told “arrogant” Prince Harry to “man up” and he issued a bold warning to his daughter.

He said: “I’ll keep talking and I’ll probably get louder. Meghan and Harry’s silence empowers all the crazy tweets and insults against me and my family.”

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Thomas’s message to Harry was: “Man up and get over it.

“If I’m the first person who’s insulted you or hurt your feelings, you’ve got a long way to go.

“He’s human just like the rest of us. I feel that he feels he is above everyone else and that he has a right to talk down to people.

“And I cannot accept that. It feels like arrogance.”

Thomas had hoped to join Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland at the  wedding in Windsor but suffered a heart attack shortly beforehand. And while recovering in hospital, he hung up on Harry during a heated row.

Prince Harry also spoke to Oprah Winfrey in 2019

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Prince Harry also spoke to Oprah Winfrey in 2019Credit: CBS

December 2018

Thomas Markle said his daughter had “always been very controlling” but he hit back at claims she was “rude”.

On Good Morning Britain he addressed the then “gossip” about her being hard to work for as she was said to pepper staff with demanding 5am emails.

He said: “She has always been a very controlling person and that is part of her nature but she has never been rude.

“The ghosting [of him] I don’t completely understand – she’s always been in charge, that’s her nature, but not been rude.”

The same month, Thomas spoke to The Sun about his joy over the couple’s baby news, saying proudly: “She will make a great mum.”

Thomas Markle has spoken openly about his daughter Meghan

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Thomas Markle has spoken openly about his daughter MeghanCredit: The Mega Agency

October 2018

Meghan Markle’s dad admitted to using cocaine in an interview with a US magazine.

He confessed to sniffing the Class A drug during the 1970s and 1980s when he worked as a lighting director in the entertainment industry.

Thomas said: “I don’t do drugs, haven’t for more than 20 years.”

Thomas Markle set up a series of staged pap shots before the wedding

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Thomas Markle set up a series of staged pap shots before the weddingCredit: Coleman-Rayner

August 2018

Royal aides were said to be concerned over the public outbursts of Meghan Markle’s dad, following a number of explosive TV interviews.

Their intervention came after he claimed the Duchess was “terrified” of her new Royal role and that Princess Diana would have “loathed” how he had been frozen out of the Royal circle.

July 2018

Thomas Markle threatened to travel to England in an attempt to make peace with his duchess daughter after almost two months without contact.

He admitted to fearing he was frozen out after a paparazzi picture scandal ahead of her wedding in May 2018 to Prince Harry, which he missed due to heart problems.

He told The Sun: “If I chose in a month, or couple of months, to go to En­g­land — I want to see my daughter. I’m thinking about it.

“I don’t care whether she is p***** off at me or not.”

Thomas had't heard from his daughter Meghan in nearly two months, 2018

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Thomas had’t heard from his daughter Meghan in nearly two months, 2018Credit: Paul Edwards – The Sun

June 2018

In June 2018, The Sun said that he had reportedly been paid £7,500 for a live tell-all TV interview – after being exposed over staged paparazzi shots.

ITV flew him from his home in Mexico to a luxury hotel in California for a chat on Good Morning Britain.

Piers Morgan confirmed Thomas had pocketed “a few thousand pounds”, but insisted his “ultimate motive was not money” and he had turned down significantly higher offers from American media outlets.

During the interview, the retired TV lighting director explained why he set up the infamous fake picture shoot ahead of the couple’s nuptials.

He said: “I didn’t do this for money, I did this to change my image. I was presented as a hermit hiding out in Mexico but obviously that was a mistake and went wrong.”

Thomas Markle with his daughter Meghan. He said he hoped he could be as close to baby Archie as he was with his Meghan

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Thomas Markle with his daughter Meghan. He said he hoped he could be as close to baby Archie as he was with his MeghanCredit: Splash News
Thomas Markle says he’s ‘apologised 100 times’ to Prince Harry and Meghan but claims they still won’t talk to him



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