Thomas Markle Says He's 'Proud' His Grandson Was Born into the British Royal Family

Meghan Markle‘s father is sending his congratulations after the birth of his new grandson.

After Meghan and Prince Harry welcomed their first child, a son, early Monday morning, Thomas Markle has responded to the news.

“I’m delighted to hear that mother and child are doing well. I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity, and honor,” he said in a statement to The Sun. “GOD bless the child and I wish him health and happiness, and my congratulations to my lovely daughter Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry, and GOD save the Queen.”

Meghan has never spoken publicly about her relationship with her father since entering royal life — but her father has frequently done the opposite. Thomas, 74, has previously said that he has not spoken to his daughter since she married Harry on May 19.

Meghan’s best friends, however, offered a different perspective.

“He knows how to get in touch with her. Her telephone number hasn’t changed,” a longtime friend told PEOPLE. “He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super painful, because Meg was always so dutiful. I think she will always feel genuinely devastated by what he’s done. And at the same time, because she’s a daughter, she has a lot of sympathy for him.”

After publicly wavering on the decision, Thomas did not attend Meghan’s wedding in May, citing heart problems. In his absence, Prince Charles stepped in and walked Meghan down the aisle after she “sadly” confirmed days before the nuptials that Thomas would not be attending the wedding as originally planned.

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Thomas also spoke about his new grandchild, saying in October that he considered Meghan’s pregnancy “overwhelming and joyful.”

Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who split from Thomas in the 1980s, is “overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild,” according to a statement released by the Royal Family. The announcement added that Doria is with her daughter, 37, and son-in-law, 34, at their new home of Frogmore Cottage.

Doria arrived in the U.K. from her home in Los Angeles in April, weeks ahead of her grandson’s birth.

Doria, a social worker and yoga instructor in L.A., has a close relationship with her daughter and was the only member of Meghan’s family to attend the royal wedding last May.

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