In the lead-up to Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding, Thomas was caught staging photographs for the paparazzi, which he has admitted was a “mistake”. He then suffered a heart attack and was unable to travel to the UK for the wedding. After their nuptials, Meghan allegedly stopped speaking to her father.
He continued to speak to the press, asking Meghan to contact him and claiming she had ghosted him.
The Duchess wrote a handwritten letter later that year begging her father to stop speaking to the media about her.
This letter later became the subject of a privacy lawsuit, in which Meghan successfully sued Associated Newspapers for publishing extracts in the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline.
However, Meghan’s celebrity friends were able to help her take her mind off her family drama.
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Hollywood star George Clooney and his human rights lawyer wife Amal, who attended the wedding and VIP evening reception too, decided to invite the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to their home by Lake Como, according to the biography ‘Finding Freedom’.
Co-authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote: “A few months after the drama with her father, George Clooney arranged for Harry and Meghan to fly from London to Lake Como on his own private jet.
“In the early evening of August 16, the newlyweds arrived into Milan airport, and from there were driven in an unmarked motorcade to George and Amal’s Villa Oleandra.
“The Clooneys, who had been staying in their 25-bedroom mansion for the past month, had already hosted a series of high-profile friends including Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber and Stella McCartney and her husband.
George had purchased the retreat, located in the village of Laglio, in 2002 and the “ornately carved ceilings in each room” were stunning in themselves.
The Sussexes stayed for three days, during which Harry took out one of George’s motorbikes with his bodyguard.
A source told the Finding Freedom authors: “Meghan and Amal spent a lot of time relaxing by the pool and playing with the twins while George and Harry checked out George’s motorbike collection.
“Harry took one of them out with one of his protection officers.
“George recently had an accident so wasn’t back on his bike yet.”
To maximise security, they stayed in each night but were treated to incredible dinners by rotating chefs.
On the final night of their stay, George hired the chef from Il Gatto Nero, one of his favourite local restaurants, to prepare an Italian meal for 15 people.
The party, which included neighbours and houseguests, dined at long trestle tables in the landscaped gardens and listened to live music.
Meghan and Harry have also been guests at the Clooneys’ UK home, according to Finding Freedom.
Finding Freedom’ was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand and published by Dey Street Books in August 2020. It is available here