You know what they say — "You can't choose your family." And nobody knows that better than Meghan Markle. With her and Prince Harry's royal wedding on the horizon, the princess-to-be's family members, many of them estranged, have been chatting with just about anyone who will listen. Sometimes relatives have spoken in glowing terms about Prince Harry's fiancée. But more often, family members have blasted the former "Suits" actress. Keep reading to see all the things her relatives have publicly said about her, for better or for worse…
On April 18, 2018, Thomas Markle Jr. — Meghan Markle's estranged half-brother — spoke to Britain's Daily Mirror and accused Meghan of mistreating her family and trying to reinvent herself as a new Princess Diana. "Meg likes to portray herself as a humanitarian, a people's person and a charitable person, but she is none of those things to her family," he said. "She is giving the greatest performance of her life. She is acting phony. Once she got into Hollywood, she turned into a different person. She's clearly forgotten her roots and her family." He added, "Maybe the normal American family she has is embarrassing to her because we're not producers and executive producers." He wasn't done either, further claiming that Meghan's behavior has "torn my family apart."
Meghan Markle hasn't had any semblance of a relationship with half-sister Samantha Grant for close to a decade, but that hasn't stopped Samantha from speaking publicly about Meghan, and it's usually not positive. Not long after Meghan began dating Prince Harry, Samantha — who reportedly never lived in the same house as Meghan, as she was in her teens when her half-sister was born — said she was releasing a book titled "The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister." In October 2017, Samantha changed her tune and told "Good Morning Britain" that Meghan was "lovely." After Meghan and Harry got engaged, Samantha was quick to say how proud she was. Then, something changed and she was less than kind to Meghan. Early in 2018, she accused Meghan of not financially supporting their father. Then in April, she went on an epic rant when she didn't get an invitation to the wedding, despite admitting she and Meghan have long been estranged. "Smoke and mirrors cannot hide the elephant in the room. Out of respect, tradition, and humanitarianism, the Markles should be invited if 2,000 complete strangers are invited," she tweeted. "Our uncle, brother, me, best friend of 30 years, nephews. Our issue is not a matter of closeness. Family is family."
It wasn't just Meghan Markle that Samantha Grant went after. In April 2018, Meghan's estranged half-sister went on Twitter to take a shot at Prince Harry, implying that he was keeping Meg from her family, even though the former "Suits" star hasn't spoken to many of them in years. "It's time to 'man up' @HRHHenryWindsor," she tweeted. "'Shout outs' about humanitarianism don't work when you are allowing Meg to ignore the Markles. It is a contradiction. Someone must point out that the 'Emperor is not wearing any clothes.'" Comically, Samantha thought she was tweeting Prince Harry directly, but it was actually a fan account.
While Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister, Samantha Grant, was publicly slamming the soon-to-be royal in the media for not inviting her to the wedding, Samantha's ex-husband (yes, everyone is trying to have their 15 minutes) came forward to publicly support Meghan's decision to snub Samantha. In February 2018, Scott Rasmussen told The Mirror, "Harry and Meghan need to know the truth about her. She's the last person who should be at Windsor Castle. In my opinion, if she sets foot in the UK, they should send her straight to the Tower of London… She should act with some dignity, keep her mouth shut, and leave everybody else alone." Scott added that he met Meghan in 2000 when she was a teen. "She was all class and so polite," he said, "everything Samantha wanted to be."
When Thomas Markle Jr. didn't get a coveted invitation to the royal wedding, he decided there shouldn't be a royal wedding at all… at least one involving his estranged half-sister. In late April 2018, Thomas penned a letter to Prince Harry (and shared it with In Touch magazine) in which he bashed his sister, calling her "jaded, shallow, conceited" and he told the red-headed royal that "it's not too late" to call off the royal wedding. "It's not too late, Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you," Thomas Jr. wrote. "As more time passes to your royal wedding, it became very clear that this is the biggest mistake in royal wedding history." Tom claimed that "the whole world" sees Meghan's "attempt to act the part of a princess like a below C average Hollywood actress." Thomas, who hasn't had a relationship with Meghan in years, also said, "It's very apparent that her tiny bit of Hollywood fame has gone to her head, changing her into a jaded, shallow, conceited woman that will make a joke of you and the royal family heritage. You and the royal family should put an end to this fake fairytale wedding before it's too late."
In early May 2018, Thomas Markle Jr., frustrated that he didn't get a royal wedding invite, switched gears and took the "kill them with kindness" approach. He decided to write Meghan a letter (which he again shared with In Touch magazine) in which he told her how proud he was of her. Not surprisingly, he also begged for an invitation to the wedding. "It's true that you and I have become 'distant' along with the rest of our family members over the years," he wrote. "But we are all still family. With all the memories of watching you grow up, it's hurtful that you would forget about us." He then detailed certain things they did together while they were kids, apparently trying to tug at her heart strings. "Meg I know that I'm not perfect, nor is anyone else in our family, as I'm sure you have read by now. But good, bad or perfect, we're the only family that you have," he wrote. "It does hurt my feelings not getting invited to your wedding, along with the rest of the family. But it's not too late to send me an invite along with your entire family. We should all be there to show our love and support on your wedding day, because that's what families do. Not to mention how long it's been since we all [have] seen [each other] and have gotten together, that would be very nice."
Not long after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged, Meghan's nephews and their mother said they'd be "honored" to attend the royal wedding. "I don't think we are getting invitations, but that is fine, we are so proud of her," Thomas Markle Jr.'s ex-wife, Tracy Dooley, told "Good Morning Britain." Tyler Dooley, Meghan's nephew, added, "At [this] point, this all goes back to Meghan. I mean, ultimately, it's her day, it's her happiness." By most accounts, Meghan hasn't had a relationship with her nephews or Thomas's ex since she was a kid. Enter Thomas Markle Jr., who doesn't speak to ex-wife Tracy or the two sons they share. Thomas told Britain's Sunday Mirror that neither the boys nor his ex should be invited. "I don't want her to have anything to do with us and the boys shouldn't go along with it. They shouldn't be at the wedding either," he said. "I don't believe Tracy or my sons have the right to call themselves Markles. If this embarrasses Meghan then I am sorry, but Tracy can't go on claiming to be a Markle."
As Meghan Markle's estranged family piled on after not scoring wedding invitations, it was a teenage relative — Meghan's 19-year-old niece, Noel Rasmussen, who is estranged from mom Samantha Grant — who begged for a ceasefire. In an April 22, 2018, interview published by Britain's Sunday Mirror, Noel said her mother is most at fault for the family feud. "My mom has got to stop what she's doing," Noel said. "I think she likes the attention being Meghan's sister gives her. She likes the spotlight and the 15 minutes of fame and somewhere deep down she probably is hurt that she didn't get an invite to the wedding." She said that Samantha and Thomas Markle Jr. are "ripping the family apart" with their constant media appearances. "Things have been crazy ever since Meghan and Prince Harry got together, but I think it will die down and I hope these wounds are healed," she said. "It's in Meghan's nature to be a good person and she won't want any bad feelings. I think she is doing the best she can in the public eye."
In the weeks leading up to the royal nuptials, a paparazzi agency captured a series of photos of Meghan's dad, Thomas Markle Sr., getting ready for the wedding in a variety of ways. It turns out, those were not by accident. After MailOnline reported that he was in cahoots with photographers and stood to make more than $100,000 from the pictures, Thomas admitted he was working with photogs to stage the snapshots. He told TMZ that he regretted making the agreement and called the pictures "stupid and hammy." Very quickly, there was fallout: Thomas claimed he had a heart attack amid all the stress and had decided that not only was he not going to walk Meghan down the aisle, but that he wouldn't attend the wedding at all. His daughter, Samantha Grant, however, claimed it wasn't his fault, but hers. She tweeted Kensington Palace, "The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault. The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money." After that, Samantha went on a media blitz telling multiple outlets that she was to blame. "I suggested that he look healthy and it would make the royal family look better as well as himself. I only meant to help because the media can be so cruel," she told Britain's Daily Star Online. She told "Loose Women," "There's a lot of scrutiny that it was money-motivated, it was not. It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are — in shape and doing healthy things."
What a difference 24 hours makes in the world of Meghan Markle's family. Just a day after her father, Thomas Markle, decided he wasn't going to go to the royal wedding amid a paparazzi-photo scandal, he decided he did want to attend and walk her down the aisle. Thomas told TMZ on May 15, "I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle." He then added, "Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history." Thomas said Meghan wasn't even angry with him for getting exposed for doing a deal with photographers to take and sell pictures of him getting ready for the wedding. He told the website that Meghan tried calling him on May 14 but he wasn't near his phone. He claims she then texted to tell him she loved him and she mentioned that she was concerned about his health, as he'd been experiencing chest pains. Thomas also said he now feels that his agreement with the paparazzi agency wasn't a violation of trust, but rather a "stupid" mistake. Further, in response to reports that the queen was livid with him over the paparazzi-photo scandal, Thomas said, "I don't think the queen is thinking about what I'm doing." But later that same day, Thomas told TMZ he was once again canceling on Meghan because doctors had ordered him to undergo surgery on May 16 to repair damage caused by his recent heart attack.
On May 15, Meghan Markle's half-sister, Samantha Grant, told TMZ that even amid their father's paparazzi-photo scandal and serious health concerns, she didn't care that Meghan wanted her to stop speak out publicly about their family. "If it's about my life or my fathers's, there's something in this country known as freedom of speech," Samantha said. "She doesn't have a copyright on that and she's not going to tell me that I can't speak about my own life or my father's where it's a matter of public self-defense." According to Samantha, "The media is disparaging us. I'm not going to take it. She's not qualified to suggest that I don't under any law in this country. This is not Great Britain. I am a United States citizen. That's all there is to it." But Samantha wasn't done yet. "She's way out of her league to tell me that I can't speak," she added in her TMZ interview. "I'm not saying anything about her but if I'm talking about my life or my father's, she has to respect it."