Thomas Markle told of his joy and sadness at watching his daughter’s marriage from 5,400 miles away.
Minutes after the end of the ceremony, he spoke to TMZ – his favored outlet – to describe the emotions of seeing Meghan become Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, an experience he called ’emotional and joyful’.
‘My baby looks beautiful and she looks very happy.’ he said. ‘I wish I were there and I wish them all my love and all happiness.’
Markle, 73, was said by the website to be in California, recovering from heart surgery.
He had told it earlier in the week that he had three stents put in after suffering a heart attack last week.
Markle Sr has not been seen since making an epic 24-hour round trip to Los Angeles and has said that he spent much of the past few days in hospital.
During his trip to LA, he was seen purchasing a McDonalds and a KFC and briefly visited the home of ex-wife Doria Ragland, 61, to leave two pots of flowers on her doorstep.
Then last Sunday, he faced embarrassment after the Mail on Sunday revealed he had colluded with LA-based paparazzo Jeff Rayner, 44, to stage pictures – including shots of him apparently being measured up for a suit at a local tailors.
In fact, the pictures were shot at a nearby party boutique called Moby Eventos with Markle Sr’s measurements taken by bunting salesman David Flores, 17, instead.
‘It was really strange,’ he told the Mail on Sunday.
‘This big American guy got the measuring tape out of his pocket and he was saying things in English. I don’t speak good English but I understood what he wanted me to do. The photographer he was with stepped back to the street and started taking pictures.
‘The big man was showing me what to do with the tape, holding it across himself. I just went along with it. I was telling him the measurements but he didn’t write them down or anything.
‘After around 20 minutes, he said “thank you” and gave me about $15 as a tip.
‘He and the photographer left together in the same car. I think it was a grey or silver minivan. The photographer was driving. I had no idea who this American man was until I saw the pictures in the news. Now I know he is Thomas Markle, the father of Princess Meghan.’
On Monday, Markle Sr announced he was pulling out of the wedding via TMZ and said he had recently suffered a heart attack, brought on by stress caused by older daughter Samantha Grant’s fondness for trashing her sister in the press.
He also said he wanted to spare Meghan from any embarrassment caused by his antics.
The following day, he told TMZ he had changed his mind but then announced he was pulling out for a second time – leaving Meghan allegedly blindsided by the news.
Since then, he has provided regular updates about his condition from his hospital bed and has said he wants to visit his daughter in London when he recovers.
Markle Sr is still to meet his new son-in-law Prince Harry but is thought to have spoken to the royal, 33, over the phone.
On Thursday, Meghan released a statement confirming her father would not attend and said he needed to focus on his health.
She said Thursday: ‘Sadly my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health’.
The former Suits star, 36, added: ‘I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday’.
That led to social media discussion about the nature of Meghan’s relationship with her father and its contrast to her obvious closeness to her mother, Doria Ragland, her only family member at the ceremony.
The following day, Thomas Markle told the same outlet that he was ‘honored and grateful’ for Prince Charles’ offer to step in.
But on Friday night Thomas’s older brother Michael, 78, told DailyMail.com there could be no doubt about the bond between father and daughter.
‘My brother was always devoted to her. Maybe because she was the little one,’ he said.
Thomas Markle had not been seen at his home in Rosarito since late last week.
The town, which is split between a population of American retirees and local Mexicans, is just across the border from San Diego.
There was no sign that its most notable resident had set off interest in the wedding.
The streets of Thomas Markle Sr’s adopted hometown Rosarito were dark and quiet this morning as his daughter Meghan married Prince Harry at 4am Pacific Time.
On Benito Juarez, the main drag and home to popular tourist haunts such as the El Nido restaurant, the shutters were down and the shops were closed.
Even late-night drinking establishments such as Acua Baja Bar & Mar were empty, with the popular party spot shutting at its usual time of 3am instead of extending its hours for the Royal Wedding.
The only signs of life to be seen downtown were a stray dog loping down the sidewalk and a pickup crammed with laborers headed to work.
Shops and restaurants at the Papellon Shopping Mall, a favorite haunt of Markle Sr’s north of town, were similarly quiet – the Walmart where he does his weekly grocery run dark and deserted.
And in the small community where the father-of-the-bride lives, the streets were silent as his neighbors stayed in bed instead of tuning in.
So marked has the lack of interest been, a viewing party at nearby café Coffe House was canceled due to a paucity of takers.
Chris Larsen, owner of local expat hangout Plan B, had been planning to open his bar early for the wedding but told DailyMail.com that licensing problems had forced him to cancel his plans.
Thomas Markle has two brothers but neither were seen Saturday.
Michale Markle, 78, the oldest member of the Markle family, had told DailyMail.com on Friday at his Florida home that he planned to record the occasion and watch it when he woke at 8am – 1pm in Windsor, by which time the ceremony was over.
Frederick Markle, 76, who styles himself Bishop Dismas and leads his own small church close to his home in Sanford, Florida, was not seen on Saturday morning.
One Markle known to watch was Samantha, Thomas Markle’s oldest daughter.
She spent the ceremony in front of the television at her home in Ocala, Florida – accompanied by a television crew whose company, her boyfriend Mark Phillips told DailyMail.com, had paid a five-figure sum for her time.