Australia

Meghan’s estranged half-brother Thomas Markle Jr joins Big Brother VIP in Australia

Meghan Markle braced herself for embarrassment today as her estranged half-brother Thomas Markle Jr prepares to join the Australian version of Big Brother.

Mr Markle Jr, 54, was spotted by staff at Sydney Airport today before going into hotel quarantine, where he will stay for 14 days before being allowed to appear on ‘Big Brother VIP’.

The window setter, who lives in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, has no relationship with Meghan, her husband Prince Harry or their two children Archie and Lilibet.

He has previously labeled Meghan a “fake” and a “decrepit, superficial, snooty woman,” while also criticizing her for cutting off their father, Thomas Markle Sr, 77.

And Meghan will therefore be bracing for more embarrassing claims during his time on the Channel Seven program, which won’t air until later this year.

Mr Markle Jr’s arrival in Australia comes just days after another contestant, British columnist Katie Hopkins, was expelled from the country for threatening to violate quarantine rules.

Meghan's half-brother Thomas Markle Jr with his fiance Darlene Blount in Oregon in 2018 in

Meghan’s half-brother Thomas Markle Jr with his fiance Darlene Blount in Oregon in 2018 in

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pictured in Wellington, New Zealand, in October 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pictured in Wellington, New Zealand, in October 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pictured in Wellington, New Zealand, in October 2018

Big Brother VIP filming begins in a purpose-built complex in Sydney Olympic Park

Big Brother VIP filming begins in a purpose-built complex in Sydney Olympic Park

Big Brother VIP filming begins in a purpose-built complex in Sydney Olympic Park

A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: “We are not commenting on speculation about the cast of Big Brother VIP. Soon everything will be revealed and Big Brother is looking forward to meeting the new collection of roommates.”

Markle Jr has previously said the last time he saw Meghan was in 2011, telling the German newspaper Bild that his family believed she was now a “changed person.”

Who are Meghan’s relatives?

Thomas Markle Senior: Meghan’s father is a retired lighting director living in Mexico, previously married to Roslyn Markle – with whom he had Thomas Markle Jr and Samantha Markle.

Doria Ragland: Meghan’s mother is a former makeup artist and married Thomas Markle Sr. in 1979. They dated Meghan in 1981 but divorced in 1987.

Samantha Marklea: The daughter of Thomas Markle Sr. and the half sister of Meghan, also known as Samantha Grant, have been divorced twice and have three children.

Thomas Markle JrMeghan’s older paternal half-brother, was married to Tracy Dooley for 11 years until they divorced in 2001, and they had two sons – Thomas and Tyler Dooley.

He lived with her father; sister Samantha Grant, aka Samantha Markle; and stepmother Doria Ragland when Meghan was born in 1981.

Mr. Markle Jr, Meghan’s older paternal half brother, was married to Tracy Dooley for 11 years until they divorced in 2001, and they had two sons – Thomas and Tyler Dooley.

In January 2017, Mr. Markle Jr was charged with allegedly holding a gun to the head of his fiancée Darlene Blount during a drunken argument. He later apologized, but it’s not clear how the case ended.

It is also not yet clear whether he will replace far-right commentator Hopkins, who was sent back to the UK on Monday.

The former BBC Apprentice candidate had sparked outrage in Australia when she boasted on Instagram that she tried to violate quarantine rules by opening her door to hotel staff naked and without a mask.

Ms Hopkins, 46, who has become known in recent years for her extreme views on immigration and Covid-19, had her visa revoked on Sunday and was put on a flight back to Britain the following morning.

Other notable participants in Big Brother VIP include Caitlyn Jenner, who flew in from Los Angeles last week and is now also in hotel quarantine.

The 71-year-old American personality, who is also running for governor of California, was set to receive $500,000 (£364,000) for her performance on the show. Mr. Markle Jr’s salary is unknown.

He would likely have obtained a ‘critical skills’ visa to enter Australia during the pandemic, while thousands of Australian citizens remain stranded abroad and unable to return home.

This visa is granted when there is a demonstrable economic benefit from allowing the person to enter the country.

A spokesperson for Seven said: ‘It is important to note that Seven ensures that the arrival of international artists to Australia does not affect or hinder Australians returning from abroad.

“All the international artists affiliated with Seven have arrangements that exist outside the flight limit for international arrivals and have been granted exemption from the government to come here.

Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

Another Big Brother contestant, Katie Hopkins (left), was expelled from the country for threatening to violate quarantine rules, but American personality Caitlyn Jenner (right) will be joining the show

All our artists also take quarantine measures in line with government legislation.

“Like the arrival of world-class international actors who are currently empowering the Australian film industry, these artists are contributing to the making of leading TV productions and creating jobs for many people at a difficult time for the creative and production sectors.”

The shooting of Big Brother VIP will begin in the coming months at a purpose-built complex in Sydney Olympic Park.

The set is currently under construction despite the city’s construction ban, after the producers received special permission.

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