When Meghan Markle celebrates her 37th birthday next Saturday, she will doubtless be showered with love and gifts from adoring husband Prince Harry and receive the warmest of greetings from other members of the Royal Family, including the Queen.
But 5,495 miles away in Mexico, her devastated father will spend the day nursing a broken heart.
For Thomas Markle today claims in The Mail on Sunday that Meghan has cruelly excised him from her life – and he fears he may never see any children that she and Harry might have.
Retired award-winning Hollywood lighting director Mr Markle has not spoken to his 'beloved Bean' – his childhood nickname for Meghan – for more than ten weeks and claims the rift is punishment for him staging fake paparazzi pictures before the wedding and then daring to speak out in his own defence.
"I'm really hurt that she's cut me off completely. I used to have a phone number and text number for her personal aides at the Palace, but after I said a few critical words about the Royal Family changing Meghan, they cut me off.
"Those numbers were disconnected, they no longer work. I have no way of contacting my daughter," he says.
"It's her birthday on August 4 and I want to send her a card. But if I send a birthday card to Kensington Palace, or wherever she's living now, it'll just be one among thousands. She'll probably never see it.
"I thought about sending it by Priority Mail Express, but the Palace would probably just soak it in water for three days to make sure it doesn't explode."
In his most incendiary interview yet, Mr Markle spoke to The Mail on Sunday for nearly nine hours over the course of three days to say he has been left reeling by Meghan's 'sense of superiority' since this newspaper first exposed him for staging a set of paparazzi pictures just six days before the May 19 wedding at Windsor.
And he claimed:
-He fears Meghan will never let him see any future grandchildren;
-Meghan might be better off if he were to die: "Everyone would be filled with sympathy for her";
-Frustration at the 'mixed messages' he has received, with Harry and Meghan telling him not to apologise for the staged paparazzi pictures debacle, just hours before a Palace aide called and offered to help him 'make an apology';
-Reports that he faked a heart attack and is an alcoholic are false.
Speaking at his modest $695 (NZD$965)-a-month rental home overlooking the Pacific in the sleepy Mexican town of Rosarito – a 30-minute drive from the US border – Mr Markle invited the MoS to share cold, non-alcoholic, drinks on his sunny patio as he spoke candidly of the rift with his daughter that he fears may never heal, before adding ominously: "I won't be silenced."
He is soft-spoken but brutally honest. He answers every question thoughtfully, veering between sadness at the 'loss' of his daughter to flashes of anger at the 'confusing' way he has been treated by the Palace.
Aged 74 and 6ft 4in tall, he says his body "isn't what it used to be" and winces as he rises from his chair, complaining that years of hard graft hanging heavy stage lights for TV shows have left him with bad knees and arthritis.
He also suffers from heart problems and says, astonishingly, that it might be better for his daughter if he died: "It's lucky I'm still alive.
"The men in my family rarely live over 80 so I'd be surprised if I had another ten years. I could die tomorrow.
'It wouldn't be so bad. I have something of a Buddhist philosophy about death. Perhaps it would be easier for Meghan if I died.
"Everybody would be filled with sympathy for her. But I hope we reconcile. I'd hate to die without speaking to Meghan again."
Staging fake paparazzi pictures, including one of him being 'measured' for a wedding suit at a shop in Rosarito that actually sold party supplies, was a 'huge' mistake, he admits.
In an interview with MoS columnist Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain last month, he apologised for the fake pictures but broke protocol by revealing Prince Harry's political views (he is 'open to the experiment of Brexit' and thinks US President Donald Trump should be 'given a chance').
He also spoke of his daughter's longing for a baby. Mr Markle believes his candour led to him being frozen out: "What's sad is that some time in the next year Meghan and Harry will have a baby and I'll be a grandfather, and if we're not speaking I won't see my grandchild.
"How tragic is that, to deprive a child of its grandfather because I said a few things critical of the Royal Family?
"They're just like a Monty Python sketch. Say a few critical words about the Royal Family and they put their fingers in their ears, cover their eyes and pull the blinds down. They don't want to know about it.
"I'd spoken to Harry and Meghan and offered to make a public apology for the posed photos, but they said it wasn't necessary.
"They said an apology would probably only make things worse by dragging the story out a few more days. Then an aide called me saying: 'You have offended the Royal Family but I can help you make an apology.'"
Mr Markle was left confused and baffled by the volte-face: "I was shocked because I'd offered to apologise and been told it wasn't necessary.
"Then suddenly I'm being told that I needed help apologising, as if there's a special way to apologise to the Royal Family.
"Perhaps you do it with gravy and flowers on the side? I was taken aback to be asked if I needed help apologising, like I was a child. That wasn't going to happen.
"Meghan was apparently upset with me for saying that she and Harry will probably have a baby soon.
"But Meghan's been saying that herself for the past six or seven years, talking about how much she wants a family. Harry's been saying it too. That's fine.
"But the moment I say it, I'm persona non grata.
"'I tell you, I've just about reached my limit with Meghan and the Royal Family. They want me to be silent, they want me to just go away. But I won't be silenced.
"I refuse to stay quiet. What riles me is Meghan's sense of superiority. She'd be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today. Everything that Meghan is, I made her."
Mr Markle worked as an Emmy-award winning lighting director on hit US TV shows such as General Hospital and Married With Children before retiring to Mexico eight years ago.
Meghan was sent to exclusive private schools from kindergarten onwards and her father paid for her $30,000 (£23,000)-a-year tuition at Northwestern University, Illinois, with $750,000 winnings from a lottery.
He funded a teenage Meghan's expensive holidays abroad, including a visit to Britain, where she was photographed outside Buckingham Palace.
A proud man, he says he has never asked his daughter for a penny, despite suffering financial setbacks over the years and losing the vast majority of his lottery winnings in a bad business deal. He now supports himself on his pension and social security payments.
He is angry that Meghan has talked about the support her yoga-loving mother Doria – the only member of the Markle family to attend the Royal wedding – has given her, but gives him no credit for her success.
"Oh, she's a mummy's girl now and Doria gets a lot of the credit," he says, a trace of bitterness in his voice.
"But Meghan seems to have forgotten that she lived with me up until Doria and I divorced, when she was six, and even then I was still a big part of her life.
"Whenever she finished school, I was the one who picked her up because I didn't have to be at the studios until late and would then work until midnight.
"When Meghan was 11, she moved back in with me up until she was 17 and went to college.
"I was having my good years then, making good money, and could afford to give her the best, with a good school, good education, good home.
"She became the woman that she is today thanks to everything I did for her.
"And did I get any recognition for it? Any thanks? She doesn't even speak to me now. How cold is that?"
He says he has been deeply wounded by reports he faked a heart attack to pull out of the wedding because of embarrassment over the fake pictures.
The Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in San Diego, California, where Mr Markle claimed he had surgery to unblock an artery days before the wedding, said no patient with his name had ever been admitted.
But he says angrily: "It's disgusting they said I didn't have a heart attack. Hospitals are bound by confidentiality laws and when you check in you can say you don't want your name on their records if anyone calls in to ask.
"I lost 40 lb after my heart attack, so I suppose that's good, though it's a hell of a way to lose weight." He recently quit smoking after 50 years.
He has been accused of being an alcoholic but says: "I hardly drink at all, just a little wine with my dinner, nothing much. I don't do drugs, haven't for more than 20 years.
"I've been seen carrying a six-pack of beer and they say I've a drinking problem. I regularly buy a six-pack for the guys on the guard gate [at his gated community] because they're stuck in a hot shack for hours each day and could use a cold one. I don't drink beer at all."
Mr Markle staged the paparazzi pictures in an attempt to change his image after being photographed with beer and fast food; a plot that backfired spectacularly when the MoS exposed the snaps as fake six days before the wedding.
In the posed pictures, he was shown using an exercise bike, a rusty contraption sitting forlornly in the garden where he conducts this interview.
He was also shown exercising with weights and reading about Harry and Meghan in an internet cafe. But CCTV images obtained by the MoS revealed British paparazzi photographer Jeff Rayner accompanying him into the cafe to set up the shots.
Despite Mr Markle's earlier harsh words, it is still clear he adores his daughter.
Regardless of his misgivings, he plans to send her a birthday card tomorrow: "Just wishing her birthday greetings, nothing more."
His eyes fill with pride when he speaks about her.
His longing for a reconciliation is heartfelt: "Meghan is everything to me. I love her and I always will."
No money was requested or given for this interview.