Kensington Palace has issued a statement asking the public for “understanding and respect” amid reports that Meghan Markle’s father will no longer be attending the wedding.
Thomas Markle, a former TV lighting director who lives in Mexico, was due to walk 36-year-old Meghan down the aisle on Saturday, but now claims he doesn’t want to attend and risk embarrassing the royal family and his daughter.
He reportedly told TMZ that he had a heart attack six days ago, but was determined to recover in time for the wedding until scandal erupted over paparazzi photos he staged.
Thomas attracted worldwide attention at the weekend when CCTV footage of him emerged entering an internet café with a famous paparazzo who went on to take photos of him searching the web for information about his famous daughter.
It’s thought he was paid up to $180,000 for the photos, but Thomas told TMZ he wasn’t paid anywhere near that much.
What a relief Thomas Markle was looking at pictures of Meghan when this photographer crept up behind and snapped him. How fortuitous pic.twitter.com/IB7GdDmJED
— Katie Hind (@katiehind) May 9, 2018
He went on to explain that he only agreed to do the shoot because he’d been hounded by paparazzi since news broke that his daughter was dating Prince Harry, and was frustrated by the way he’d been portrayed.
Hoping to improve his image, he agreed to set up the shoot, but has since lived to regret it and conceded that the photos looked “stupid”.
In their statement, Kensington Palace – where Harry and Meghan live – asked for understanding and said that Thomas was in a “difficult situation”.
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“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” it read.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”
Meghan’s estranged half sister and half brother, Samantha Markle and Thomas Jnr , have not been invited to the May 19 wedding, but the former actress’ mother, Doria Ragland, will be by her side.
On the morning of the wedding, Doria is expected to arrive at Windsor Castle by car with her daughter, and her dad was supposed to walk her down the aisle of St George’s Chapel.
However, with this change of plans, many believe that yoga instructor Doria – who has regularly been described as Meghan’s “best friend” – will step in to perform the honour.
According to a palace statement from May 4, Thomas and Doria, who separated when Meghan was just six, were due to arrive “in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry’s family, including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day.”
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