Thomas Markle Sr. has admitted he still makes money off the staged photos he set up ahead of the Royal Wedding, despite knowing the heartbreak they caused Meghan. He also added that Meghan and Harry “owe” him.
As the royal wedding drew near in 2018, Thomas Markle struck up a deal with a paparazzi photographer and posed for a number of shots including him being measured for a suit and reading a book about the UK in a coffee shop.
They were then sold to newspapers and magazines around the world for up to $100,000, with Thomas getting a 30 per cent cut.
The photos caused huge embarrassment for the royal family, with Meghan and Prince Harry calling him just before the story was about to break.
But, in a new interview on Channel 5’s documentary admitted he’s still making money from the photos every time they are used.
In the documentary titled Thomas Markle: My Story, Thomas said: “Absolutely. Those pictures will sell forever.”
However, he claims he didn’t originally take the photos to make money, and instead was just trying to repair his image that had been smeared by the media.
He said: “I had been going through this for months. Every paper seemed to want to make me look like a dumb, fat slob.
“I bought a new toilet, it became news around the world and I was made a joke – this was my throne.”
He continued: “I got approached by a guy who spoke to me and said ‘I can change your image’. He said the problem you have is all these photos of you are terrible, he said I can make you look respectable.
“He said we’ll go out and take some photographs of you looking like you’re getting in shape for the wedding.
“The idea was that these would all be candid shots, discreet, no one would know they were posed or anything. It would be just me doing my routine daily.”
Thomas admits he had doubts about the photos, even before they were published.
He said: “I was feeling that this was very hooky and hammy, but he keeps saying you’ve got to trust me, I’ve done this a hundred times.”
However, the pair were exposed when they tried to take photos in an internet cafe, when CCTV cameras showed them setting up the shots.
The week before the wedding Kensington Palace was told that a story about the staged photos was about to break, and Meghan and Harry called Thomas asking if it was true.
Thomas said: “I denied it. All Harry asked me was did I pose for measurement for a suit, and I said no I wasn’t posing for a measurement for a suit, I was being measured for a new hoody. That’s what I told them.
“And of course that was a lie. I lied to him. I’m not proud of that, but I did. I didn’t do it for money. I did this to change my image.”
In the new interview, Thomas said he plans to take payment for any future interviews he does, adding that Meghan, Prince Harry and the Royal Family “owe him”.
He said: “I’m going to defend myself and I’m going to be paid for it. I don’t care. At this point, they owe me. The Royals owe me. Harry owes me, Meghan owes me. What I’ve been through I should be rewarded for.
“My daughter told me that when I reach my senior years she’ll take care of me. I’m in my senior years now, it’s time to look after daddy.”