The Duchess of Sussex’s estranged father has revealed how he knew his daughter would be an actress after seeing her perform as a teenager in high school plays.
Thomas Markle, 75, said he felt ‘tremendous pride’ watching Meghan act on stage at the private Catholic all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.
And a video was revealed in a Channel 5 documentary last night of one of Meghan’s star performances aged 15 as Little Red Riding Hood in the play Into the Woods.
Thomas Markle, 75, told Channel 5 he felt ‘tremendous pride’ watching Meghan act on stage
The clip filmed in March 1997 showed Prince Harry’s future wife confidently walking around the stage and delivering her lines with gusto.
Former TV lighting director Mr Markle also told a Channel 5 documentary last night how he helped build some scenery and rig the lights for plays at the school.
He said: ‘I think I gave her a sense of pride, I think I gave her a sense of duty and work, I think Meghan would say that I did a very good job as a father.
‘She was growing into a very nice young lady. I got involved (in school plays) because I watched a couple of their shows and I knew they needed a lot of work.
Meghan performs on stage aged 15 as Little Red Riding Hood in the play Into the Woods
Meghan was a keen actress at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, California
‘I just offered to come in and put some lights in, build some scenery and make the shows real shows. Meghan was in almost all those shows.’
Mr Markle added: ‘When I saw my daughter performing on stage, I felt tremendous pride. I knew from the day she was born that she would eventually be doing that.
‘It wasn’t a surprise or a shock to me. It was just something I knew was going to happen.’
Meghan’s drama teacher was Gigi Perreau, who met Mr Markle on camera for the documentary for the first time in about 20 years.
The clip filmed in March 1997 showed Prince Harry’s future wife delivering her lines with gusto
Meghan’s father helped build some scenery and rig the lights for plays at his daughter’s school
Mr Markle said: ‘I met Gigi through the school itself because she was the head of the drama department and Meghan of course is ‘I want to be in the drama department’ and very pushy about ‘I want to do the show’.
‘She learned to be in front of people with you and she learned to get up and have enough guts to sing a song.’
Ms Perreau replied: ‘Exactly, and boy she was nervous about that. One thing we worked on were listening skills, because I tried to demystify acting, in other words ‘it’s not that scary – you listen to what the other person says and you respond’.
‘I’m extremely proud of Meghan. I think she has really, as far as her role now as the Duchess, I think she’s doing an amazing job.
Meghan starred in Into The Woods while at the all-girls Catholic school in Los Angeles in 1997
A file picture of the private Catholic all-girls Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles
‘And they said, well, do you think she’s going to miss acting? And all I could do is laugh, as you’re laughing now. I said, are you kidding?
‘I said she’s got the biggest acting job of any human being in the world. I mean from the moment she wakes up in the morning until that door closes and they have, whatever, their private time hopefully, she’s out there being the Duchess of Sussex – and that’s a big role, that’s a huge role.’
In Andrew Morton’s 2018 book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, he told how Meghan wrote in the programme notes for Into The Woods that she wanted to attend Northwestern University in Illinois, which she predicted would ‘be her next stop on her way to Broadway’.
In last night’s documentary, Mr Markle also defended his decision to speak out against his daughter, saying: ‘Meghan owes me… it’s time to look after Daddy.’
Thomas Markle said he knew Meghan would be a star after seeing her perform as a teenager
Mr Markle detailed the breakdown of his relationship with the duchess and accused Prince Harry of acting like a ‘sensitive’ 12-year-old.
Meghan rose to fame in 2010 as Rachel Zane in the popular US legal drama series Suits
He accused the couple of saying ‘trashy things’ about him and said he believed his relationship with Meghan was now damaged beyond repair and she would not choose to see him again.
The American, who has not spoken to his daughter since before her 2018 marriage, has become an outspoken critic of the duke and duchess, accusing them of damaging the Royal Family by stepping back from their duties.
But he also admitted he had been jealous of Charles and ‘cried a bit’ as the Prince of Wales walked Meghan down the aisle on her wedding day.
Meghan rose to fame in 2010 as the sassy Rachel Zane in the popular American legal drama series Suits.
However, the actress left the show and her acting career to concentrate on her charity projects and to marry Prince Harry in May 2018.
Meghan’s last episode was aired in the UK in April, just a month before she married Harry in Windsor Castle.