Meghan Markle’s father Thomas Markle critically ill suffering from a stroke
The Duchess of Sussex’s father Thomas Markle fell over while out shopping and had to be helped up to his feet just days before he was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected major stroke, it was revealed today.
Retired lighting director Mr Markle, 78, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, was struck down and lost his speech only a week before he had been due to fly to London for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It is not yet known whether Meghan, 40, who is estranged from him, will go to his bedside at a clinic in Chula Vista, California – only a few hours’ drive from the home she shares with Prince Harry in Montecito.
And royal author Tom Bower revealed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today that he had spoken to Mr Markle over the weekend about his upcoming book about Meghan, and that he had fallen over – before the stroke happened.
Mr Bower said: ‘He was alright, but he’d just fallen over in Rosarito, he’d been shopping and he told me that some other people had helped him stand up. But he is a man who’s already had heart problems and he wasn’t feeling too good. On the other hand, he was very excited about coming to London for the Jubilee.’
Mr Markle was taken by ambulance to the clinic in Chula Vista, but had earlier been admitted to hospital in Tijuana, Mexico, where he was seen arriving with an oxygen mask on his face and flanked by paramedics.
‘And if compassion was at all necessary right now, it would mean that she would go to her father’s bedside, about two and a half hours’ drive south of where she lives, and give him some comfort and reassurance. And we wait to see what happens.’
Mr Bower also confirmed that Meghan has not made any contact with Mr Markle ‘since just before the wedding – other than the famous letter’.
He continued: ‘I’ve been in touch with him for my book, which comes out very soon now, for some time.
‘And he is very upset, he’s very unhappy because of course he was a very loving father to Meghan and supported her throughout her childhood when her mother wasn’t there. And paid for her student fees too.
‘He was very upset that he hasn’t been able to see his grandchildren. So I do think to an extent he was going to come to London, although he told me that he was coming to see the Queen, I think in reality he was also hoping to see Meghan and to see his grandchildren.
‘And we do know of course that if all Meghan Markle’s family had been here in London, it would have somewhat dominated the news outlets, not just the Jubilee itself. So to that extent I suppose we’ve been relieved of that saga.’
It comes after Mr Markle’s daughter Samantha, 57, told MailOnline: ‘My father is recovering in hospital. We ask for privacy for the family, for his health and wellbeing. He just needs peace and rest. Godspeed. We are praying. He just needs some rest.’
His blood pressure had been high in the preceding days, it was said. It means that Mr Markle will miss the celebrations in London just as he missed Meghan’s wedding to Harry in 2018 after suffering a heart attack.
Mr Markle, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, was taken by ambulance across the border to the US at around 9.30pm on Monday.
His son Thomas Jr, 55, was with him and is at the hospital near San Diego, while Samantha was last night said to be flying in from her home in Florida.
In the footage posted online, Mr Markle is seen lying on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask.
Two paramedics try to lift him while speaking in Spanish and ask him what his name is. Somebody behind the camera responds that his name is Thomas.
Speaking in English, one of the paramedics says: ‘I’m going to be your paramedic. You’re going to the US.’
Mr Markle was due in London next week and was to have been a guest on TV during coverage of the jubilee celebrations. The trip would have fulfilled his ‘long-held wish to visit Windsor Castle’
His health, however, seems certain to have dashed that hope, just as it scuppered Mr Markle’s plans to walk Meghan down the aisle in 2018 when he was forced to pull out of the ceremony.
He underwent surgery to repair the damage and Prince Charles stood in for him, performing the father of the bride’s duties during the wedding service.