Top royal aides are reported to believe the royal family's handling of the Thomas Markle saga has been inept and feeble and fear it's becoming a crisis after the father of Prince Harry's wife Meghan gave a third explosive interview.
Mr Markle claimed in the interview with the Mail on Sunday that while recovering in hospital from a heart attack he had been berated on the phone by Prince Harry and had hung up on the prince.
He also said he had been told by his daughter that he would be unable to deliver a father-of-the-bride speech at the wedding last May.
Mr Markle accepted that the prince was right to reprimand him over his collusion with the paparazzi in which he staged photographs of him being fitted for a morning suit, but described the timing of the call - while he was lying in hospital - as "rude".
Now Daily Mail columnist Richard Kay reports that he has spoken to past and serving royal aides who believe the response and handling of the whole Thomas Markle affair has been both "inept" and "feeble".
A palace aide involved in the arrangements for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011 believed the handling of Mr Markle has been "inept".
"The perception is that he was treated very much as an afterthought. No one went to visit him when the answer would have been to have someone fly out from London and explain to him how things were going to happen," the aide is quoted as saying.
Mr Markle, 74, made headlines when he pulled out of the wedding a few days before he was due to walk Meghan down the aisle at St George’s Chapel citing his health problems. The decision came 24 hours after his arrangements with the paparazzi had been exposed.
Another aide with years of experience with the royal family said: "It’s too late now for equerries or go-betweens to get to Mr Markle, it’s up to Meghan. She clearly loves him enough to have wanted him at her wedding so she needs to go and spend time with him."
Richard Kay wrote: "For now this latest Markle debacle is nothing short of a disaster for both Harry and Meghan - and for the royals. If, as Markle says, this was his ‘last interview’ then maybe this is just the opportunity for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to take him at his word and get on that plane.
"If they don’t, I fear this domestic tragedy will unspool even further."