06/18/2018 11:08 EDT | Updated 05/14/2019 13:56 EDT

Thomas Markle Says Meghan Is ‘A Prize’ For Prince Harry

The duchess' dad revealed details about the couple in his first interview after the royal wedding.

LONDON — The father of the former Meghan Markle says he wishes he could have walked her down the aisle during her wedding to Prince Harry.

Thomas Markle told broadcaster ITV on Monday that his daughter cried when he told her he wasn't well enough to attend the ceremony last month, but was honoured to be replaced by Prince Charles.

The 73-year-old Markle, who watched the wedding from California, says he was "very proud" but 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."

Ahead of the royal wedding on May 19, the elder Markle was caught up in controversy after it was revealed that he staged paparazzi photos of himself preparing for the nuptials. He then announced that he would not attend the wedding in Windsor, U.K., but changed his mind a day later.

However, days ahead of the nuptials, Thomas suffered a heart attack and underwent heart surgery. Markle then confirmed in a statement via Kensington Palace that her father would not attend the ceremony.

"It was a very emotional moment for me, like I said, I cried about it," Thomas admitted on U.K.'s "Good Morning Britain." "But I'm thankful for everything the way it went. I was very proud."

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave Windsor Castle in the Ascot Landau carriage during a procession after getting married at St. George's Chapel on May 19.

It was previously reported that the newlyweds would make a trip to visit Thomas at his home in Mexico, however, Markle's father revealed that he advised them not to, as "the press would eat everyone alive."

Markle now hopes to visit the couple in London soon. "I'm on the mend and feeling much better and doctors are making me lose weight and take better care of myself," he said.

On his daughter marrying a prince

While marrying a prince is certainly impressive, Thomas noted that his daughter is also a catch.

"Of course it's 'Wow,' it comes out as a 'Wow,' but this is my daughter and she's certainly a prize for [Harry] as well," said Thomas. "He's great, an interesting guy, a prince, but my daughter's been a princess since the day she was born."

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle after their wedding ceremony on May 19.

Thomas has always had a close relationship with his daughter, despite splitting with Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, when Markle was just six years old.

In the past, the former "Suits" star has opened up about spending time with her father on the set of "Married... with Children," where he worked as a lighting director.

"Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up," the 36-year-old royal recalled in a 2013 Esquire interview.

Thomas was also the one who helped kickstart Markle's acting career. Thanks to money he won in the California State Lottery in 1990, he helped fund her education.

On his first conversation with Prince Harry

Thomas also opened up about his son-in-law, Prince Harry, who he described as a "very nice man, a gentleman, and very likeable" in his interview with ITV. Although the two have never met in person, they have spoken on the phone.

During their first conversation, Thomas and Harry spoke about politics. "I was complaining about not liking Donald Trump, he said 'give Donald Trump a chance.' I sort of disagreed with that," Markle said.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage during Trooping The Colour 2018 on June 9 in London.

Thomas also noted that he got the impression from the royal that he was OK with Brexit. "I think he was open to the experiment," the elder Markle said.

CBC News reports that Harry's press office declined to comment, as senior members of the Royal Family are not supposed to air their thoughts on domestic or international affairs.

On Markle and Harry's family life

Thomas says the couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will probably seek to have children soon.

He says, "She's wanted children for a long time."

"When she met Harry she spoke about how much she loved him and so there has to be a child making somewhere soon," Thomas added. "I don't think there is a stork in the air yet but I think it will happen sooner or later."

With files from The Canadian Press/The Associated Press