Meghan Markle's family fights 'hatchet job' on father

He told a friend: “That’s a total lie. I have never written anything like that and I would never insult Meghan by doing so. It is pure fiction, designed to put me down and humiliate me. It’s like they are deliberately stabbing me in the back. I don’t know who these people are, or why they seem to want to sabotage any possibility of my daughter and I rebuilding a relationship which was once very, very special. Why would I ask her for a photo op after all the media problems we’ve both faced in the past? It doesn’t make any sense. That’s not how I think and it’s certainly something I would never write or say.

“Are these people doing a hatchet job on me because they want to impress her and make sure they’re invited to royal functions? I’m tired of all this hostility and I want it to end.”

Mr Markle also claims he has frequently tried to contact his daughter directly, without success, adding: “What do I do now? I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

His comments come as his son Thomas Markle Jr, 53, Meghan’s half-brother, spoke out separately to defend his father, saying “nothing will silence him” and “he will never give up hope” of reuniting with Meghan.

He fears the stress is taking a toll on his father’s health and is adamant that Meghan cut her father off, not the other way around.

He also called for a full family reunion.

Thomas Sr has hit back after five of Meghan’s closest confidantes defended her in a US magazine.

One, identified only as a “longtime friend,” claimed in People magazine that the pregnant Duchess, 37, pleaded with Thomas to make peace, saying: “After the wedding, she wrote him a letter.

“She’s like, ‘Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship’. He writes her a long letter in return and closes it by requesting a photo op with her. And she feels like, ‘That’s the opposite of what I’m saying. Did you hear anything I said?’.”

The friend continued: “It’s almost like they’re ships passing. He knows how to get in touch with her. He has never called; he’s never texted.

“It’s super-painful because Meg was always so dutiful. I think she will always feel genuinely devastated by what he has done. And at the same time, because she’s a daughter, she has a lot of sympathy for him.”

Speaking from his home in Oregon, Thomas Jr has revealed: “My father is very hurt and very confused about what happened to the relationship with his daughter.

“And he is very frustrated now because he has a grandchild coming up with the favourite person that he worshipped. He just wants to hear from his daughter and have her back in his life. I do not want to see anything bad happen to him. He has got to take more interest in his health and be a lot less stressed.”

He added: “My number one message for Meghan would be to reach out to her father and for all of us to get back together for some sort of reconciliation, come together as a family and especially with a baby on the way.

“It would mean the world for my father to be back in her life and be part of his grandchild’s life. That would be very important.”

• Additional reporting by James Desborough