Thomas Markle accuses Oprah of taking advantage of 'weakened' Harry, says Meghan treats him like an axe murderer - 60 Minutes

The father of the Duchess of Sussex, Thomas Markle, has launched a spate of extraordinary attacks in an explosive new interview, claiming his estranged daughter treats him like an "axe murderer" and branding her husband, Prince Harry, a "very weakened man".

Markle, a retired lighting director, gave an exclusive interview to 60 Minutes Australia's host Tom Steinfort, which aired in Australia on Sunday. During the highly charged talk, Markle declared that Harry and Meghan had "ghosted" loved ones in their pursuit of independence and financial freedom. 

The 76-year-old also directed his ire towards talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, claiming the television mogul had "played" Harry and Meghan to promote her new ventures. 

In March, the royal renegades sat down with Winfrey for a candid, tell-all interview regarding their radical breakaway from the Royal Family last year. During the televised interview, the couple made several bombshell claims against the monarchy, claiming Meghan had not been provided with sufficient support as she battled suicidal ideation, and a well-known royal had questioned how dark their son's skin colour would be.

Speaking to 60 Minutes, Markle accused Winfrey of cashing in on the couple, claiming the host had used the royals to further her multi-billion-dollar empire.

"Oprah Winfrey, for one, I think is playing Harry and Meghan," he said. "I think she is using them to build her network and build her new shows."

Markle also labelled his son-in-law as a "very weakened man", suggesting he had been coerced into saying things he wouldn't have normally addressed. 

"I think she's taken advantage of a very weakened man and has got him to say things that you just shouldn't be saying on television," he continued. "The bottom line is, she is working Harry."

Markle's bitter estrangement from his duchess daughter has been a topic of tabloid scrutiny in recent years. It's understood the 76-year-old has not spoken to Meghan since she married Harry three years ago, and he has never met his grandchildren - Archie, aged two, and Lilibet, who was born on June 4. With his ailing health, he now says there's a possibility he may never get to meet them.

"I'll be very disappointed that I don't get to hold my granddaughter," he said. "I might never see my grandchildren. I'm not looking for pity. I'm just saying that's a reality."

Markle told the programme his daughter had treated him worse than an "axe murderer".

"There are axe murderers in prison and their family comes to see them… I made one dumb mistake and I've been punished for it. They talk about compassion - there's no compassion for me."

During the interview, Markle also said he would like to meet up with Prince Charles, who walked Meghan down the aisle after Markle suffered a heart attack shortly before the wedding. He believes he and Charles, Harry's father, would "get on quite well" - noting they had both been "ghosted" by their children.

"I don't know anybody that's this cold to do this, and now Meghan's doing it to me and Harry's doing it to his father… it's even more cold to do it to the Queen," he told 60 Minutes.

Charles has not been spared from Harry and Meghan's bombshell allegations. Speaking on actor Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast last month, Harry revealed he wanted to extricate himself from the cycle of "genetic pain and suffering" since his early 20s - claiming his father had "treated me the way he was treated".

Harry and Charles' relationship has reportedly become increasingly strained due to the duke's repeated attacks on his family. 

It's understood the deep rift between Meghan and her father began to crack when Markle was caught staging paparazzi photos of himself in the lead-up to the royal wedding in May 2018. 

He says he has apologised numerous times for his behaviour, but added he had not done something "terribly wrong". 

When Steinfort asked if he still loved his daughter, Markle said "of course". 

The duchess gave birth to the couple's second child, Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, on June 4 - but did not announce the birth until three days later. The Royal Family issued a statement saying they were "delighted" by the news.

But according to reports, the royals are becoming "increasingly fed-up" with Harry and Meghan's behaviour. Following Lilibet's birth, the BBC published a bombshell report claiming the pair may not have consulted the Queen about their decision to name their daughter in her honour. Harry and Meghan have pushed back on the report, with their lawyers calling the article "false and defamatory" - but Buckingham Palace has yet to publicly back them or set the record straight.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also been pushed down the list of royals on the family's official website - below the Wessexes and even the scandalous Prince Andrew.