Thomas Jr. proposed to girlfriend of two years, Darlene Blount, with the couple celebrating their engagement with a party in Grants Pass, Oregon on New Year’s Eve, according to DailyMailTV.
Of his upcoming March wedding, Thomas Jr. says he intends on extending an invite to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, in hopes that it will bridge the gap between his estranged family members.
“Absolutely I think our wedding will bring the family closer together,” he told the outlet. “It’s hopeful that if Meghan and Harry came and my father, Meghan and Harry could spend some time together with him and that would be good.”
Meghan’s relationship with her estranged brother, as well as her father Thomas Markle Snr., has been rocky for quite some time.
Thomas, 74, has previously said that he has not spoken to his daughter since she married Harry on May 19. After publicly wavering on the decision, Thomas did not attend Meghan’s wedding, citing heart problems.
In his absence, Charles stepped in and walked Meghan, 37, down the aisle after she “sadly” confirmed days before the nuptials that Thomas would not be attending the wedding as originally planned.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.”
Thomas has since made controversial statements about his daughter and has admitted that he lied to Harry about staging paparazzi photos as the couple was preparing for their special day.
In addition to the drama with her father, sources close to the Duchess of Sussex previously revealed that Meghan had “no relationship with her half-siblings, nor has she ever had one.”
“They were out of the house by the time she was born,” the source added.
Her half-brother also has a history of being outspoken, after he wrote a scathing letter published in the tabloid InTouch in May claiming that their dad had not received an invitation to the royal wedding and that Meghan had largely shut him out of her life. (The palace later refuted those claims.)
Despite the long-running family drama, Thomas recently revealed he was “upset by the criticism” Meghan was receiving amid reports of tension between her and Kate Middleton.
“If there is any animosity between Meghan and Kate they should put their differences aside,” Thomas said during a new interview with U.K. publication The Sun, before defending the Duchess of Sussex.
“I’m very upset by the criticism Meghan is getting,” he added. “I don’t think she deserves it and I don’t think she is doing one-third of the things she is being accused of doing.”
Thomas went on to share that while he doesn’t “believe that Meghan is trying to hurt her in any shape or form,” as he claims he hasn’t had any contact with his daughter in months.