Decades before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry abruptly announced to the world and their family members they were stepping back as senior royals, the Duchess of Sussex was known as a "daddy's girl" who was often seen alongside her now-estranged father Thomas Markle as he happily shuttled his "determined" daughter around to her daily activities.
Fox News spoke to a family friend of Meghan's this week, who recalled just what the young duchess was like as a pre-teen and later on in her years as a high school student at Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles, Calif.
Meghan's parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, were divorced when she was in junior high. Meghan lived under the same roof as her dad during these formative years, the family friend said.
Despite their current estrangement, the family insider shared that Thomas and Meghan's relationship in the 1990s was nothing but loving and supportive on both sides.
"Meghan was a very happy, determined girl," the family friend said of Meghan as a young girl. "She was very close with her dad."
The family friend, who did not wish to be identified, spent years watching Meghan being picked up and dropped off at various locations by her father. Meghan's dad was viewed by other school parents as a consistent parent, the source said, making the father-daughter duo's current rift "sad" for many to see, said the source.
Thomas was working within Hollywood as a lighting director, which in turn became Meghan's stomping grounds and where she discovered her love of acting.
"Her dad was primarily taking care of her after Meghan's parents divorced," the family insider told us. "He would always come by and pick her up at friends' houses, bring Meghan with him to the lighting studios he worked at, soap operas, commercials, you name it."
The family friend added that Thomas was a parent others would see around Meghan's school "all of the time."
"She was a daddy's girl. He was always picking her up and bringing her places," the family insider added.
Of course, whether they wanted to or not, Thomas and Meghan have made it clear to the world that they currently are not on speaking terms. Thomas caused quite a stir days before Meghan's wedding after a staged photo shoot he now says he regrets caused a family rift. After the paparazzi scandal, Thomas and Meghan grew even more distant, as he suffered a heart attack and missed her and Prince Harry's royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
On the heels of Megxit, Thomas told Us Weekly he was "disappointed" in his daughter and Prince Harry. The family friend said Thomas' views appear to be much different now than they were two decades ago.
"The only time Thomas was upset with anything Meghan did was when she went off to study college in Chicago," said the family friend. "But of course, that was just because he was going to miss her. It was hard for him to watch her go, but he was so proud."
Thomas and his other daughter, Samantha Markle, who is Meghan's half-sister, continue to slam the former "Suits" actress in interviews following her recent departure from the United Kingdom to Canada.
Still, the family friend believes deep down that the father-daughter pair have not forgotten about their once-strong bond. Many who knew Meghan as a child remember it well.
"They really were very close," the source concluded.