Meghan should not let estranged dad Thomas Markle back into her life after the birth of son Archie, his ex-wife has warned.
Roslyn Markle, who has kept a dignified silence throughout three years since Prince Harry met Meghan, claims he was an “awful father” who showed little interest in their young children.
The 73-year-old has broken her silence to reveal damning allegations about Thomas Sr's behaviour after the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to the couple’s first child, Archie.
Roslyn was Thomas’s first wife from 1964 to 1975 before he wed Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland in 1979, splitting in 1987.
And she warned Meghan against making up with her estranged dad so he can be a proper grandad to Archie as she feels he will not change.
She also claims he cheated on her, including with her relative, hurled abusive, foul-mouthed outbursts at her and starved her of cash so she ended up shoplifting for food.
Thomas, 74, strenuously denies all the allegations.
Roslyn said: “Knowing Tom as I do, Meghan would be a fool to have him in her life.
“While he portrays himself as a loving father, he was anything but to our two children during our marriage. It may sound cliched but a leopard does not change its spots.
“Repeatedly he has shown to Meghan he cannot be trusted. She must know that now. I speak not out of bitterness, my life moved on many years ago, but out of concern.
“Archie deserves to be brought up in a happy home, not in this vengeful situation that has been created.
“Tom was an awful father. What makes him think he’d be a great grandfather to Archie?”
Roslyn, who has survived cancer, met Thomas in the summer of 1963 at a house party in Chicago.
He was 20 and working at WTTW studios, while she was a clerk at the Illinois Railroad Company.
Roslyn told how she was immediately struck by the “tall, handsome man” with “a great sense of humour and charming smile”.
She was soon pregnant with their first child, Samantha, and decided to get married.
The pair found a large one-bedroom apartment in Chicago as Samantha arrived in November 1964 and lived a happy, normal life, but soon the cracks began to appear.
Roslyn, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said: “As I was no longer working, Tom’s paycheck was the only money coming in.
“But to him, his money was his and his alone. Whenever I asked for help to feed to kids or buy diapers, he’d scream, ‘Get a f*****g job’ and then laugh.
“I can still see the look in his face and how he’d clench his teeth in anger. Although he was never violent, Tom would often lose his temper.
“He would scream, ‘F*** you’. ‘F*** off.’ ‘Leave me the f*** alone’ or, ‘Get the f*** out of here.’ Everything was f***. He called me a f****** c*** a lot.
“He knew I was helpless as I had nothing, so what could I do?”
Despite their difficulties, Roslyn hoped when she became pregnant with their second child, Tom Jnr in December 1965, things would change.
But the situation grew worse.
She added: “He got so bad he wanted the kids and me gone, so Tom drove us down to his mother’s house in Pennsylvania and abandoned us. I begged him to send us some money.
“Tom was living a single life in Chicago while we were barely surviving. It was left to his parents to feed and clothe us all.
“Tom’s mother Doris and dad Gordon could not have been more different, but it was making them broke.
“They told Tom to come and get us so, reluctantly, he did. But back in Chicago things were no different. He didn’t give me anything.
“He had cars but never once took the kids or me out. It could be snowing and the children would need food, but he refused to take me.
“I’d either have to take the bus or take out the pram or a cart to get what I needed. It got so bad that one day I had nothing to feed the kids with, I went down the local corner store and got some food.
“I put some items on top of Jnr’s blanket, but I put many underneath it. I am so ashamed, but I had to steal, it was the only way I could feed them.”
While Roslyn was left at home to look after their children, she claims Thomas would disappear for days before coming home at 10am to have a shower, change and go to work.
She added: “I was trying to bring up the kids and Tom lived his life as a single man. He’d be gone all night long and come back smelling of women.
“All the signs would be there. He’d have makeup on him and smelling of perfume.
“To this day, I’ve not spoken to a close relative of mine in 25 years after I learnt she had slept with Tom while we were married. Even one Christmas Day he strolled in at 10am from being out.
“He walked in to see the kids had opened their presents.
“My mum was there. He took one look at her and said, ‘What the f*** is she doing here?’ It was awful. That’s how awful he could be.”
She said: “One day, the wife of one of Tom’s bosses took me to the studio to see where he worked.
“She pointed at a young woman and said, ‘That’s Barbara, Tom’s girlfriend.’ I was floored.”
Roslyn claimed Thomas even mentioned his alleged lover in bed.
She added: “Tom was half-asleep. He cuddled up to me and pinched my butt. He said, ‘What a nice ass you have, Barbara.’ I went crazy. I kicked him so hard he fell out of the bed.
“I knew I had to get away, but I had no money and nowhere to go.”
Eventually a friend of Roslyn’s offered her a way out.
She and the children could leave while Thomas was out and stay at her home. Roslyn started packing.
She added: “The time finally came and when he left my girlfriends came round, we loaded up the cars. I stripped the apartment bare and left it with a letter telling him we were never coming back.
“He called me pleading for me to come back, but I refused. He said he’d take me for everything in the divorce.
“He sent me papers saying he’d been a ‘true, kind and affectionate husband’ but I never signed it.
“There was no way I was going back. He wasn’t a father to Vonnie [Samantha] or Tom.
“The only time he wanted to know was when they were walking and talking and taking care of themselves.”
Roslyn also told how Thomas took cocaine.
She said: “Drugs and the TV studios went hand in hand and Tom was no different.
“Cocaine was rife in the circles he worked in. It was only a matter of time before he was doing coke too.”
During Meghan’s pregnancy, Thomas heaped embarrassment on his daughter by admitting he took cocaine.
In October, he said: “In the industry, I worked in back in the 70s and 80s, there was cocaine around a lot. And I’m sure that I had an occasional sniff of cocaine.”
To add to Meghan’s distress, Thomas also said he went to the Philippines and frequented the now-defunct Playboy Club in Manila’s red light district.
He denied paying for sex.
Roslyn claims her ex-husband at one point sent money to one woman in the city to help her out.
She added: “He told me before he was supporting a family over there financially.”
Roslyn told how she recently watched in disbelief as Thomas carried out his repeated betrayals of Meghan in “endless media rampages” including revealing his daughter’s highly private letter to him.
Even more painful has been seeing “toxic” Samantha viciously attack the royal couple in “an orchestrated and unfounded campaign of hate”.
Thomas married Doria four years after his divorce from Roslyn.
But Roslyn can see why she fell for him. She said: “Tom would have swept Doria off her feet. He would have turned on the charm as he did me, even more so because of how young she was. But I’m sure she quickly saw similar things to what I had.”
Meghan has not spoken to her father since before her wedding to Harry last May after they fell out.
Roslyn claimed Hollywood may have changed both of them as people and led to difficulties but added: “I suspect the problems between them are more deep-rooted and centre on her upbringing.
“He has always lived a dysfunctional life. My kids suffered as a result and I’m sure Meghan has too.”
In response to Roslyn’s allegations, Thomas said: “These accusations about my relationship more than 40 years ago with my first wife are not valid. None of them.
“If you have questions ask my children.
“Take note that both Samantha and Tom Jr left their mother and came to live with me because of her numerous bad habits and abuse.
“I have up until this moment never said a bad word about Roslyn but I must defend myself.”
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