LONDON (Reuters) - Thomas Markle, the father of Britain’s new royal, said his son-in-law Prince Harry had told him to give U.S. President Donald Trump a chance and Queen Elizabeth’s grandson had also said he had an open mind about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Markle missed last month’s wedding of Harry to his daughter Meghan, an American actress, because he was ill but in his first broadcast interview since the glittering ceremony divulged details of conversations he had held with his royal in-law.
“I was complaining I didn’t like Donald Trump. He said ‘give Donald Trump a chance’. I sort of disagreed with that, but I still like Harry,” Markle told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in his first broadcast interview since the royal wedding.
Markle, 73, said he had spoken to Harry by phone in the months leading up to the wedding when the prince had told him that he was “open to the experiment” of Brexit.
Under Britain’s unwritten constitution, British royals are expected to refrain from expressing any public views on politics or politicians.
Kensington Palace, which speaks for Harry and his brother William, declined to comment on the interview, though the statements by Meghan’s father may bring unease to the royal family which closely adheres to its politically neutral stance.
In the days leading up to the May 19 wedding of Meghan, 36, and Harry, 33, the sixth-in-line to the throne, Markle gave a flurry of sometimes contradictory statements to an American news website about whether he would attend.
Markle spoke of his regret that he wasn’t well enough to walk his daughter down the aisle as she married Prince Harry, but said he was pleased that Harry’s father, Prince Charles, was able to step in.
Markle had been due to take part in the ceremony, and said that he had even started working on his speech but he eventually stayed away, saying he needed heart surgery.
In the end, Meghan walked down the first part of the aisle unescorted, before she was joined by Charles, Harry’s father and heir-to-the-throne.
A former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms, Markle said that he was sad to have missed the ceremony, but also proud of his daughter and grateful to Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son Charles for stepping in.
“I was honored. I can’t think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles,” he said.
“I was thrilled to tears that he was doing that for me. I just wish it had been my hand holding my daughter, not his. But he was wonderful to them.”
Markle also apologized for staging photos with a photographer which contributed to the furor around him ahead of the wedding.
“I thought that would be a nice way of improving my look. Well obviously that all went to hell,” he said.
Meghan’s parents are divorced and while mother Doria Ragland, 61, has met Harry and attended the wedding, her father has yet to meet the prince. However, Markle said that Harry had rung him to ask permission to marry Meghan, former star of the TV drama “Suits”, and that he was very likeable.
“He’s great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter’s been a princess since the day she was born,” he said.
Markle said that as well as Harry, he would one day like to meet the queen.
“I have had respect for that woman since I was a child,” he said. “She is one of the most incredible women in the world and I would love to meet her.”
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, William Maclean