PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle rejected offers to help protect Thomas Markle, sources have claimed.
Palace aides have revealed the pair refused to “engage” with Meghan’s dad ahead of their wedding in 2018.
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Sources told the Sunday Times they didn’t listen to suggestions they should meet Thomas, 76, before and after announcing their plans to get married.
And when courtiers raised worries the retired lighting director would be overwhelmed without support, Harry and Meghan are said to have rejected ideas on how to prepare him.
A source told the newspaper: “We repeatedly sat down with Harry and Meghan before the engagement announcement to say this needed to be handled sensitively, but that it had to be handled.
“We desperately asked them to engage with Thomas, but they wouldn’t. Aides also offered to go personally and see him to try and find a way to protect him.
“There is genuine disbelief and bemusement in the household at the couple’s approach to him and that Harry has still not met his father-in-law.”
Another aide said: “Thomas is troubled, but Harry and Meghan would not engage in the issue of going out to see him and for Harry to meet him. It was raised before their engagement and again constantly in the months afterwards, leading up to the wedding.
“Everyone knew it would be a huge issue that would explode if they didn’t address it and deal with it.”
Harry has not met Thomas, only having spoken to him on the phone and by text in the build up to the wedding – before all contact was cut.
Dad and daughter have not spoken since he had a heart attack and was unable to walk her down the aisle, after he caused waves by admitting he had staged press photos in claims he wanted to better his image.
In Finding Freedom, serialised in The Sunday Times reports how Meghan blamed the media for the fallout, saying: “He’s vulnerable. He’s been baited.
“A lot of the tabloid journalists have been coaxing him and paying him. I don’t know if he really even had a chance.”
The Sussexes had declined to comment.
The Duchess has blamed the breakdown of her relationship on the press before, revealing in new court papers filed by her lawyers they became distanced when he was “targeted three years ago”.
She said they “had a very close father/daughter relationship throughout her childhood and remained close”, until he was unable to come to her wedding 2018.
Meghan is suing ANL for publishing the personal letter to her dad – although the media group claims Mr Markle made it public after five of her pals gave an interview about it to People magazine.
Meghan’s leaked letter told how Thomas broke her heart “into a million pieces” by badmouthing the Royal Family and her marriage to Prince Harry.
Last year, he told the Mail on Sunday the gut-wrenching five-page letter was a “dagger to the heart” which left him “devastated”.
The Mail on Sunday says it printed the letter with Thomas’s permission after he was angry about it being misrepresented in the US mag.