What started as a series of unfortunate upsets is in danger of blowing up into something far more destructive.
Lonely and vulnerable, sitting thousands of miles away from his daughter, Thomas Markle has every reason to fear that his beloved Meghan has now turned her back on him completely.
And while the success of her wedding to Prince Harry earlier this year had seemed to secure a special place for Meghan in the affections of the British public, her decision to leave her father isolated threatens to undo that good work – and leave her with a colder reputation.
Thomas Markle (pictured with a high school Meghan) has given his most incendiary interview yet, saying his daughter might be better off if he were dead. Royal author Ingrid Seward is urging Meghan to ring her father, for both their sakes
Yes, his outbursts on these pages about his daughter, Harry, and the rest of the Royals may sound hostile and insensitive.
But who would not have sympathy with a father of the bride who has not even met his new Royal son-in-law?
Is it not a matter of simple duty that his daughter get in touch?
The emotional legacy of Diana is something that her sons, William and Harry, have been at pains to honour, both in their public statements and in their choice of charity to support.
Yet there is nothing warm, supportive or particularly family minded about the position in which Mr Markle now finds himself.
For Meghan’s part, some might imagine that her new-found Royal status is to blame – that she now lives in such a straitjacket of demands, conventions and protocols that communication between father and daughter has become difficult, if not impossible.
Yet this is simply not the case.
Thomas Markle has every reason to fear that his beloved Meghan (pictured with him) has now turned her back on him completely, writes Ingrid Seward
No one has been telling Meghan what to do or what not to do when it comes to her personal relationship with her father.
The Queen does not intervene in family matters – although she might wish she had done when it came to the breakdown of her son’s marriage to Diana – so it is up to Meghan how she chooses to deal with her relatives.
In other words, the new Duchess of Sussex is free to repair the damage, and I cannot be alone in hoping she will do so.
Both she and her Prince are suffering from the fallout. It is notable how happy she has been to embrace publicly her demure, yoga-teacher mother, yet her heavy-set father has been less fortunate.
Is she embarrassed by Thomas Markle, the man who, at the very least, was a dutiful father and paid for her to attend a private school?
Meghan is not wholly to blame for the situation she finds herself in, but it was a mistake not to visit her father with Harry before their engagement.
Only Meghan (pictured with Harry at the polo in Berkshire) can sort out this escalating problem – and she would be wise to do so
Today, Mr Markle feels that his only outlet is through the media, which is at least prepared to print his true feelings.
Neither media savvy nor particularly sophisticated, he simply wants to be heard.
True, he has worked in Hollywood but his position as a lighting director has in no way prepared him for the extraordinary world in which his daughter is now immersed.
He needs patience and understanding. He does not need to be cut off from all communication with the daughter he loves and who is now one of the most famous people in the world.
His frustration is palpable. His anxiety all too human. And yet his persistence in being heard is embarrassing.
Meghan, like her late mother-in-law, would like to be known as a humanitarian, but she must understand that charity begins at home.
Only she can sort out this escalating problem – and she would be wise to do so.
Most people understand how difficult families can be, but in her public position Meghan has to be seen to care, or else her hard-earned reputation could be tainted for ever and no one would wish that on her.
Ingrid Seward is editor in chief of Majesty Magazine