Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: How the royal family must wish they really could freeze out Meghan's dad before he causes further embarrassment

By Lindy McDowell

It's been a while now since the royal family has had a loose cannon about the palace. The phrase, which was a staple of tabloid terminology back when Fergie of York was in her toe-sucking prime, hasn't had much of an airing in recent years.

But Tommy the talkative da-in-law may be about to change all that.

Thomas Markle livened up the run-up to the wedding of Harry and his daughter Meghan with a will-he, won't-he cliffhanger over whether he would attend.

Having embarrassed his daughter with a set of staged paparazzi photographs - from which he cannily earned a bob or two - Thomas was subsequently admitted to hospital and the show went on without him.

Last week he re-emerged for a television interview with Piers Morgan for which he was paid a "small fee". (Several grand, it transpires.)

Morgan himself had previously cut the tripe out of Mr Markle in a newspaper column citing that shabby collusion with the paparazzi.

But having secured his exclusive interview, Piers declared he now believed old Tom to be a shy and decent man.

Not so shy, however, in talking about the daughter and her husband who'd previously implored him not to.

With a wobbly voice Thomas described in the interview how the couple had, in the run-up to the wedding, forgiven him for those strange staged pictures.

These were, he maintained, primarily aimed, not at making him a few quick bucks, but at improving his image.

Of course...

He relayed how Meghan's then husband-to-be Harry had rung him and asked for his daughter's hand in marriage. (An odd thing to ask surely bearing in mind Meg is one of the self-designated foremost feminists of the day.)

And on he ploughed, revealing that at this point he told Harry that he would give his permission - so long as he promised "never to raise his hand against her".

What on earth possessed him to say that?

Then there were the "revelations" that Harry thought that Trump should maybe be given a chance and that he (Harry) was "open to Brexit". (Which actually sounds like somebody trying valiantly to appear politely non-committal on both issues but does, nonetheless, make it sound as though His Harryness is overstepping the royals' rule about steering clear of political stance.)

Other observations from Thomas... he regretted missing the wedding which he saw as one of the greatest moments in history (up there with the fall of the Roman Empire and Neil Armstrong on the moon) but added he believes there may now be a "baby in the making".

Which latter comment will surely have caused poor Meghan to cringe even if the rest of it didn't.

Oh, and he was looking forward to meeting Charles and the Queen. Not to mention his new son-in-law Harry.

A week on and Thomas is back in the news. Following his previous bout of indiscretion, he's now worried apparently that the palace is "freezing him out". His daughter didn't even send him a Father's Day card, he says.

Maybe Thomas, she's worried you'd share it with the chat shows?

Meanwhile, in a comical aside the suit that had been ordered for him to wear at the wedding has resurfaced.

It got a turn out at Ascot last week worn by a PR executive who'd gone along to his tailor and discovered, to his joy, that they'd had a range of suits and shirts made for no-show Tom which not only fitted him (the PR guy) like a glove but had been slashed in price.

At least somebody's come out of this looking good.

Unlike Thomas who increasingly appears to be unconcerned about the embarrassment he's surely causing his daughter. He's a clever man. He can't be unaware of how this is playing in the media.

Which is why you'd think the royals would now be doing their utmost to try to reel him in. Before their latest loose cannon creates more tabloid cannon fodder.

Has Brexit chicanery taken fizz out of life?

The sun is high, the football’s in full swing, there’s even talk of progress in rebooting Stormont... what could possibly go wrong right now?

A CO2 shortage as it turns out.

Apparently there’s a shortage of the stuff that puts the fizz in beer and, well, fizzy drinks. Even Coca Cola is reported to be suffering cutbacks.

The shortage has been caused by a number of European companies which have curtailed production to carry out essential maintenance. Hmmm. Either that or Jean Claude Juncker’s at his work.

You ordered a pint of Brexit, Boris?

No own goals as sport shows a united front

Japanese and Senegalese fans cleaning up the stands after the game. Panama fans wildly celebrating that one goal they scored to England’s six. Female Iranian fans being able to watch their team in the stadium (they aren’t allowed back home). Everybody’s fans sporting fabulous face paint and then messing it up with tears of dismay or joy.

In some ways this seems like the most colourful and fun World Cup ever. Meanwhile in Clones, Arlene looked as though she too was genuinely enjoying the game there, not pretending for the cameras.

Sport, that great uniting force, has had a good week.

Belfast Telegraph

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