The Duchess of Sussex's father has revealed what he made Prince Harry pledge when the royal asked for permission to marry his daughter.

Recalling the moment Harry asked for his blessing to marry Meghan, Thomas Markle told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "Harry asked for her hand over the phone and I said, 'you are a gentleman, promise me you will never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I will grant you my permission'."

Image: Prince Harry and Meghan married at Windsor Castle

The former Hollywood lighting director, who was due to walk the former Suits actress down the aisle, missed the marriage after undergoing heart surgery.

Meghan's mother Doria Ragland was the only member of her family to attend the royal wedding at Windsor Castle last month.

Mr Markle said: "I absolutely wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle."

He said he was still recovering from the operation but added: "I'm doing much better."

Video: The Royal Wedding: A Day To Remember

The Duchess of Sussex confirmed two days before the wedding that her father would not be attending so he could "focus on his health".

Speaking about the moment when he told the couple he would not make the wedding, he said: "They were disappointed.

"Meghan cried, I'm sure, she did cry, and they both said, 'take care of yourself, we are really worried about you'."

The 73-year-old underwent surgery shortly after he staged paparazzi photographs of himself preparing for the wedding.

In the pictures, a seemingly unaware Mr Markle was seen being measured for his wedding suit, looking at pictures of his daughter and husband-to-be at an internet cafe, and reading a book about Britain while out having a coffee.

Asked about the controversy which made the headlines in the run up to the big day, Mr Markle replied: "I spoke to them both and I apologised. I realised it was a serious mistake. It's hard to take it back."

Doria Ragland
Image: Doria Ragland was the only member of Meghan's family at the royal wedding

Mr Markle, who watched the ceremony on television in California after his surgery, said he "cried a little bit" when he saw Meghan. "She was beautiful, It was incredible watching her," he said.

He continued: "I was very proud. I was very upset that it wasn't me (walking her down the aisle) but the whole world was watching my daughter. I was very happy about that.

"The unfortunate thing for me now is I'm a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history rather than the dad walking her down the aisle. That upsets me somewhat."

Prince Charles instead took on the honour of accompanying Meghan down the aisle after she walked part of the way on her own.

Mr Markle said: "I was honoured, I can't think of a better replacement than someone like Prince Charles.

"He looked very handsome and my daughter looked beautiful with him.

"I was jealous. I wish I had been there. I wish it had been me.

Tears from Meghan's mum as Charles walks the bride down the aisle
Image: Prince Charles walked the bride down the aisle

"But thank God he was there, I thank him for that."

When asked how he felt about the nuptials and whether he was 'wowed' by the prospect of his daughter marrying into the British monarchy, he said: "This is my daughter. My daughter is certainly a prize for him as well.

"Yeah, he's an interesting guy, he's a prince, but my daughter has been a princess since the day she was born."

Mr Markle revealed he and his daughter would speak about Prince Harry in code to keep a lid on the fact she and the prince were dating.

Recounting the moment his daughter broke the news to him about her new relationship, he said: "The first phone calls were, 'daddy I have a new boyfriend', and I said, 'that's really nice'.

"And the next call was like, 'he's British'… and eventually the third time around it was like, 'he is a prince', and at that point she said, 'it's Harry'. I said, 'oh, Harry, okay'.

"She said 'of course we'll have to call him 'H' so no one knows that we are talking about Harry'. Eventually I spoke to him as well. A very nice man, a gentleman, very likeable."

Meghan Markle and her half sister Samantha 2:04
Video: Royal wedding: Meet the Markles

He also said he expected his daughter will start a family soon.

"She's wanted children for a long time and when she met Harry and she spoke how much she loves him, there's got to be a child in the making, somewhere soon," Mr Markle said.

He revealed he and Prince Harry "have yet to see each other face-to-face".

Mr Markle described his daughter's husband as a "great… interesting guy" and revealed they had held conversations about politics, including Donald Trump's presidency, as well as Brexit.

"I was complaining about not liking Donald Trump, he said 'give Donald Trump a chance'. I sort of disagreed with that."

On Brexit, he added: "It was just a loose conversation… I think he was open to the experiment."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the ceremony 3:00
Video: Double celebration: Britain's first mixed race princess

Mr Markle said he hoped he had not offended his daughter and son-in-law by giving the interview and said he just wanted people to know he is a "normal guy".

"Over the last few weeks, everybody has had different opinions, some people said I was faking my heart attack, some people said I was skipping out, all kinds of stories were coming out about me, negative ones," he said.

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"But I just want people to know I'm a normal guy, I'm a retired man and I was living a quiet little life and this happened, and lots of things happened around it, and I've tried to survive through that, but more than anything I don't want my daughter or new son-in-law to be hurt by any of this.

"I want to have a nice, normal relationship with my royal family as well now."

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