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Why Meghan's dad should heal the rift and be a big part of his grandson's life

As Thomas Markle has been snubbed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, grandfather-of-10 Laurence White tells him why he's missing out on some of the best experiences in life

Meghan Markle with dad Thomas
Meghan Markle with dad Thomas
Ellie McQuaid
Katie McAnespie
Olivia McQuaid
Sara McQuaid
Isobel McCoy
Eileen White with Matthew White

By Laurence White

Not only was Thomas Markle not on the same side of the Atlantic Ocean as his daughter Meghan when she gave birth to the latest royal baby, but he didn't even know he had become a grandfather until a friend, who had seen the news on television, told him.

Now Thomas has not exactly endeared himself to Meghan since he staged paparazzi photographs before her wedding to Prince Harry and then released a private letter Meghan wrote to him in which she spoke of her despair at the on-going rift and urging him to stop talking.

Of course no-one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of anyone's home and in spite of the acres of newsprint devoted to Meghan's relationship with her father, the full truth behind their relationship breakdown - there are always two sides to such stories - remains a subject for speculation.

But now that Meghan and Harry have had a baby boy the big loser in all of this is Thomas.

As a grandfather-of-10 I can without hesitation assure him he is missing out of one of the great joys of life in being unable to share this time with his daughter.

Meghan's mum Dorita Ragland was with her and naturally is overjoyed that all went well with the birth. Thomas is having to make do with television reports.

I cannot imagine what it would be like being unable to see not only one of my own children because of a family rift but also any of my grandchildren.

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They range in age from one to almost 18.

To see them develop from wholly dependent babies through the so-called 'terrible twos' when they rampage through their homes like mini tornadoes to the later years at primary school when suddenly they are faced with exams which could decide their future and then into teenage years when life becomes even more complicated and, in today's challenging world, dangerous, makes the wonder of creation even more startling.

And being a granddad is such a privileged position. You get to be part of your grandchildren's lives but have little responsibility.

If my sons or daughters want any advice on any aspect of child rearing, they have the good sense to consult their mum Eileen.

Even the grandchildren quickly learn to smile benignly at granddad before moving onto something more interesting like wrestling over some toy or watching Netflix.

And with modern technology the great bonus is that every noteworthy event in any of the grandchildren's life can be captured on smartphone and shared on the family WhatsApp instantly.

Family time: Laurence White with wife Eileen and grandchildren (from left) James McCoy, Ciaran White, Ollie White and Joseph McAnespie
Family time: Laurence White with wife Eileen and grandchildren (from left) James McCoy, Ciaran White, Ollie White and Joseph McAnespie

Currently one-year-old Matthew seems to be on the verge of taking his first steps which will be an eagerly photographed/videoed milestone. We have watched Ollie overcome his own challenges to confound any doubters of his abilities, seen Ellie enter her teenage years and discover fashion that has left her mum temporarily speechless, cheered on Sara in her love of sport and little sister Olivia leaves us laughing with her comments on her sisters.

Ciaran has almost reached voting age but like all boys in their late teens opens up only about football and his dismay at the current Manchester United team - all other subjects are off limits except with his mates.

Katie, a miniature version of her mum, shares a similar never-be-cowed attitude to life which spells trouble for her year older brother Joseph and cousin James, while Isobella loves dance and is ever ready to make a cup of tea or do a little polishing.

Eileen and I are lucky to see all of them nearly every week. Parents are often accused of trying to live their lives through their children.

It is not quite the same for grandparents but of course you hope that the children - the continuation of the family tree - make the most of the opportunities that they get, and above all, are happy in the pursuit of their goals.

No doubt Thomas Markle wishes nothing but the best for his new grandson but he would be a very unwise man if he does not try to heal the rift with his daughter.

It is unlikely that he will turn up in Windsor anytime soon to view the new arrival, but he will be missing something wonderful if he never gets to see the little boy except on television or through carefully choreographed public appearances.

Try and be part of your grandson's life, however small that part may be.

You will never regret it and you will also have regained your daughter.

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