KEY POINTS

  • Meghan Markle’s estranged father, Thomas, announced he wants to take her and Prince Harry to court so he can see his grandkids
  • A celebrity divorce lawyer said his petition will only be granted if it is in the children's best interest
  • The lawyer suggested that Thomas' "self-serving" TV interviews won't help his case

Meghan Markle's estranged father Thomas Markle Sr.'s petition for visitation with the duchess and Prince Harry’s children likely won't be granted, a celebrity divorce lawyer has suggested.

Thomas recently revealed in an interview that he plans to take his daughter and her husband to court so he can see his grandchildren, Archie, 2, and Lili, 1 month. However, things likely won't work in Thomas' favor as his case is weak, according to attorney Mark Gross, whose clients include Charlie Sheen, Lisa Marie Presley and Melissa Etheridge‘s ex-wife Tammy Lynn Michaels.

Gross explained to Us Weekly that the closeness between the grandparent and their grandchildren plays a key role in whether grandparents are granted visitation rights.

He cited a previous California law case in which the judge ruled that there was a "substantial relationship between the grandparent and the children [and] it has to be in the best interest of the children to have a relationship with the grandparent."

However,  Gross noted that "with no relationship established between Mr. Markle and his grandchildren, there is no path that any court would give him for visitation."

Markle and her dad were once close but now have a strained relationship after he staged paparazzi photos and canceled his attendance at her royal wedding in 2018. Thomas has since given multiple interviews where he criticized his daughter and Prince Harry.

"Given Mr. Markle going on television and giving interviews with his intentions of seeking visitation, well that certainly isn’t in the best interest of the children either," Gross added. "Any judge is going to look at that and have cause for concern. If he were my client, I would advise him to not give any interviews, period. It’s only self-serving."

Gross' comments came days after the award-winning lighting director told Fox News, "I will be petitioning the California courts for the rights to see my grandchildren in the very near future."

"Archie and Lili are small children. They’re not politics. They’re not pawns. They’re not part of the game," the 77-year-old told the outlet from his home in Rosarito, Mexico. "And they’re also royal and entitled to the same rights as any other royal."

Thomas previously claimed that he learned about Lili’s birth in June from the media, not his daughter.

Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha Markle has since expressed her support for their dad's decision to pursue his grandparent's rights. 

"My dad has always been a wonderful father and grandfather to all of his grandchildren, and he has met them all except for Archie and Lilibet," Samantha said in a statement to Us Weekly. "It has been very cruel for my sister to unjustly lock him out of her life from the wedding to present and furthermore to deprive him as a grandfather of one of the greatest joys in life while he is still alive, which is seeing his grandchildren."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 02: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a Creative Industries and Business Reception on October 02, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images