In this latest public spat between father and daughter, many people don’t know which party to believe.

Thomas Markle claims his daughter, American actress Meghan Markle — who is now married to Prince Harry and is the mother of their son, Archie — lied recently when she said she paid her own way through college.

The elder Markle not only tried to defend himself publicly, also said he has the “the bank statements” to prove his own actions.

Thomas spoke to the Daily Mail, the British online publication, on Sunday about Meghan Markle’s three-minute speech to the University of the South Pacific (USP) students and staff in Suva, Fiji.

Said Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, in that speech last fall, “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but for all of those around them.”

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During her speech, Meghan Markle spoke about her time at Northwestern University.

She said it was “through scholarships, financial aid programs and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly toward my tuition, that I was able to attend university. And, without question, it was worth every effort.”

That’s all well and good — but Meghan Markle’s father said her statement about paying for her own college expenses is “completely untrue” — and that he didn’t say anything about it earlier because she was pregnant with her baby at the time.

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“I’m sorry but that is completely untrue,” he told the Mail. “I paid every penny of her tuition and I have the bank statements to prove it. I paid for her trips to Spain and England. I paid for her internship in Argentina.”

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The elder Markle noted it was “point of pride” for him to pay his daughter’s expenses even after she became independently wealthy.

He told the Mail, “I told Meg I would pay for her education and I did. It’s what any father would do.”

Is it wrong for a father to defend himself against a narrative that makes him look bad in the public eye?

The optics couldn’t be worse for either of them right now, in this writer’s opinion.

Meghan Markle’s father hasn’t been privileged to see his grandson. He says he doesn’t want anything from the royal family — so what is going on, exactly?

Meghan Markle’s fees for Northwestern were $200,000 and she said financial aid helped her get through. (She graduated in 2003.)

Her dad says, “No way, I paid and I have the receipts.” This family squabble, as it plays out through the media, isn’t what anyone would desire.

Meghan Markle’s father hasn’t been privileged to see his grandson. He says he doesn’t want anything from the royal family — so what is going on, exactly?

Related: A Royal Addition — World Goes Wild for Baby Archie

Meghan Markle must have a reason for not contacting him — which he conveniently forgets to tell anyone. Anyway, it’s their business.

Speaking of Thomas Markle for a moment, it is certainly extremely painful for any parent to endure an estrangement from a child who once was close. The emotions vacillate between anger and sadness.

It is a loss that can feel like a death to many people.

Perhaps Meghan Markle will never forgive her father for what she perceives to be a public betrayal at the most important time in her life: her marriage to Prince Harry, entry into the royal family and the start of a new career.

A version of this piece by Wayne Dupree originally appeared in The Political Insider; this article is used by permission.

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