With less than a week to go until Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day, it seems as though plans have taken a sad and unexpected turn ahead of the big event.
Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, has recently been at the centre of a media scandal, which allegedly saw him staging paparazzi photos of himself in an internet cafe near his Mexico home.
It was reported that 73-year-old Thomas set up the photographs for money from the media. However, since then, Thomas’s daughter, and Meghan’s half-sister Samantha, has confessed that she was the one who convinced her father to set up the photos.
On Loose Women yesterday, she admitted that she staged the photos to portray her father in a better light. Thomas, who is widely thought to be a very private man, has regularly been hounded by the media since news of Meghan’s engagement.
She confessed, “I have to say I am entirely the culprit. As we know the media can take very unflattering photographs of people on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion. I said, you know, the world has no idea you’re getting in shape, doing healthy things. They don’t photograph you buying vegetables and PH water.
“They photograph you as unflattering ways as they can. So I said, really you need to show the world that you’re getting in shape and doing great healthy things. So I suggested it.”
And now, it appears that the controversy has left Thomas uncertain over whether or not he wants to attend his daughter’s wedding at all.
Meghan’s father has reportedly told American gossip website TMZ that he has decided not to attend the Windsor wedding, as “he doesn’t want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter”.
The website also reports that Thomas Markle Sr. suffered a heart attack just six days ago, but checked himself out of hospital in order to attend his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry.
The latest reports on the situation state that Thomas is now checking himself back into hospital in Mexico, after suffering from concerning chest pains.
Kensington Palace have also issued an emotional statement on behalf of Meghan and Prince Harry, revealing that it is a ‘deeply’ personal situation for the bride-to-be. The couple have also asked for understanding from the public, during the difficult time.
Kensington Palace’s statement read, ‘This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.’
It’s since been reported that Meghan is now ‘pleading’ with her father to walk her down the aisle on the big day. A friend reportedly told the Mail, “She obviously wants her dad there”.
Live on Good Morning Britain this morning, Samantha Markle has also commented that although she “hopes” her dad will be at the wedding, his health must come first.
She shared, “I don’t know as of today what his plans are, but there’s a very real concern. I wanted to see him go [to the wedding]. I didn’t want him deprived of that. But clearly the priority should be whether or not it’s safe for him to do that. That’s where we’re at.”
Many royal commentators have suggested that the palace’s statement appears to confirm that Thomas Markle will not be attending the wedding on 19th May. Some have suggested that if he did not show up, Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, could walk her down the aisle.
Meghan is very close to her mother, and there is precedent for the mother of the bride walking her daughter down the aisle at a royal wedding. Many previous royals, including Queen Victoria, have walked their daughters down the aisle before now.
Queen Victoria, in fact, walked both of her daughters down the aisle.