First it was a book of British things. Then it was a suit-fitting on the streets of Mexico.
The final straw was an internet cafe, some not-so-subtle scrolling and large photos Meghan and Harry illuminated on the screen he was peering at.
Yes, Thomas Markle was readying himself for the royal wedding, and there were paparazzi photos to prove it.
The media was being intrusive, he said. In the hours before photos of him in that internet cafe surfaced across the world, News Corp reports representatives of Mr Markle wrote to editors around the world and Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organisation requesting privacy from the incessant intrusions.
The problem, of course, was that media intrusion was self-inflicted, if not actively encouraged. On Sunday, British media reported the pictures were staged by Mr Markle himself, with a little help from LA-based photographer Jeff Rayner. It’s reported he banked more than $180,000.
The headlines were quick, many of them scathing:
Meghan Markle’s Dad Staged All Those Adorable Photos and Made Some Major Bank
Meghan Markle’s Dad Under Fire for ‘Staged Photos’ Ahead of Royal Wedding
Royal Wedding scammers! Meghan Markle’s father STAGED photos with paparazzi that were shared around the world
But while it certainly doesn’t look good for Mr Markle – particularly after pleading for privacy – much of the conversation around his collusion with paparazzi ignores the very reason he probably sought them out.
In an interview this week with Inside Edition, his daughter, Samantha Markle told of how her father has been broke for some time. At one point, she said, he asked his daughter Meghan for money.
“He was very clear with her about the fact that he needed some help and by his report, twice she flatly refused,” she said.
“I live on a lot less than she does and he really had to chew on his pride to call me and ask me for help."
In a similarly scathing attack on his sister, Thomas Markle Junior's open letter to Prince Harry published in InTouch Magazine last week also referenced their father's financial woes.
"I'm confused why you don't see the real Meghan that the whole world now sees. Meghan's attempt to act the part of a princess like a below C average Hollywood actress is getting old," he wrote.
"What kind of person starts out by using her own father until he's bankrupt, then forgets about him in Mexico leaving him broke, over mostly all her debts. And when it's time to pay him back she forgets her own father like she never knew him."
Thomas Markle -- a notable "recluse" -- would have been hounded by the paparazzi irrespective of whether he was making money from it. And, as someone whose own children say he struggles financially, perhaps this is a neat case of lemonade coming from lemons.
The paparazzi were always going to be there. What's to say any of us, if in Mr Markle's position, wouldn't have done the same?