LONDON (AFP): Meghan Markle's estranged father on Tuesday suggested that his daughter exaggerated racism in the British royal family during her interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
Thomas Markle told ITV the couple's two-hour chat with Winfrey was "way over the top" and suggested a royal family member could have asked a "dumb question" about her future baby's skin colour.
The 76-year-old Emmy-winning former lighting director was interviewed from his home in Mexico by one of Meghan's most vehement critics, the former tabloid newspaper editor Piers Morgan.
"They (Harry and Meghan) went way over the top with these stories with Oprah and should have waited, considering the Queen's age and Philip's age," he said of the CBS show broadcast on Sunday.
Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II is 94 and her husband Prince Philip is 99 and currently in hospital recovering from a heart operation.
He played down Meghan and Harry's comments that an unnamed royal family member had asked how dark her baby's skin would be.
"This whole thing about colour and how dark the baby is, is bullshit," said Markle, who is white while Meghan's mother is black.
"I'm guessing and hoping that it's just a dumb question from somebody. I don't think the British royal family are racist."
At the same time, he said he was upset by his daughter's account of feeling suicidal after joining the royal family in 2018.
"Had I known she had psychological problems, I would have been there for her," he said.
But he claimed that Meghan had "pretty much ghosted" her family in the US and "she really had no one to reach out to".
Thomas Markle separated from Meghan's mother Doria Ragland when the duchess was young.
Raglan was at her wedding at Windsor Castle and has had tea with the queen but she dropped contact with her father soon after her wedding.
Thomas Markle declined to attend after he took part in staged paparazzi photos. He also cited forthcoming heart surgery.
"They didn't care if I died," he claimed, while saying he wanted to see Meghan, Harry and his grandson Archie, who are now living in California after quitting the royal frontline last year.
Meghan won a legal victory in February against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday newspaper after it printed a private letter from her provided by her father.
He said he released part of the letter because Meghan's friends were telling "lies" about him.
US magazine People cited Meghan's friends as saying she wrote she loved her father and was heartbroken by his behaviour.
The part he did not release was "horrible", he said. "The word love was never written by her for me."
Meghan told Winfrey in the interview that she had tried to protect both her parents before the wedding but felt "betrayal" when she found out he was cooperating with newspapers.
"I'm just trying to decide if I'm comfortable even talking about that," she added. -AFP