Meghan Markle‘s father Thomas Markle will not be attending the royal wedding.
TMZ reports that Thomas suffered a heart attack six days ago, but had checked himself out of the hospital in order to attend the royal wedding. Kensington Palace announced that he was set to walk Meghan down the aisle earlier this month. However, he has decided not attend the wedding after it was revealed that he staged several photoshoots with a paparazzi agency ahead of the wedding. According to TMZ, he says that he will not attend because he does not want to embarrass Meghan or the royal family.
He tells TMZ that he had been photographed by the paparazzi frequently after his daughter’s relationship with Harry was revealed, and even more since their engagement was announced in November. He says he did not like the way the photographs portrayed him — he says he was pictured buying beer (which he says was for the guards at the place where he lives.) Orchestrated by his other daughter, Samantha Markle, he posed for photos that he hoped would show him in a more flattering light.
Thomas tells TMZ that he now thinks the photos — which showed him getting fitted for his wedding outfit, reading a book about photos of Great Britain, and looking at pictures of Meghan and Harry — are “stupid and hammy,” and that he was following the instructions of the paparazzi agency in posing the photographs.
He says that his motivation in posing for the photographs was not financial, and that he has turned down several paid interview requests since Meghan and Harry started dating.
In the weeks leading up to the royal wedding, photos of Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle’s father (who is set to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday), have been popping up. One set saw him reading a book about photos of Great Britain, another featured him clicking through a photo gallery of photos of his daughter and her fiancé at an internet cafe. There were even photographs of him getting fitted for his morning suit ahead of Meghan’s big day.
But a new report from the Mail on Sunday revealed that the photos weren’t coincidental — they were staged. Surveillance footage showed Thomas arriving at an internet cafe in Rosarito, Mexico, where he currently lives, and talking to a photographer before the photographer started snapping photos of Thomas reading stories about his daughter online.
But Meghan’s estranged half-sister, Samantha Markle (who is not invited to the ceremony) is taking the fall for the set-up, saying it was her idea. And she said that the motivation wasn’t financial, as the Mail on Sunday report implied, it was an effort to show the world how Thomas had been preparing for his daughter’s wedding day.
“I have to say I am entirely the culprit,” Samantha said during an appearance on British talk show Loose Women on Monday. “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,” she added. “So I suggested it. There’s a lot of scrutiny that it was money motivated, it was not. It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are – in shape and doing healthy things.”
“Let me clarify, he’s 73, which makes him a bit more fragile,” she said. “He’s a quiet man. I feel that the media have unfairly preyed on him. He’s really been admirable about laying low and not speaking out, with all due respect. I merely wanted him to be seen in a respectable light. I didn’t feel that was being done so I suggested that the photographers show him as he is, doing positive things and that was never addressed.”
Kensington Palace was caught flatfooted by TMZ’s story that Meghan Markle‘s dad will not walk his daughter down the aisle … because we found out the palace had made elaborate plans for him.
Our palace sources say the plans included a security detail for Thomas Markle, along with accommodations and access to various events.
TMZ broke the story … Thomas Markle told us he would not attend the wedding because he felt shame that he made a deal with a paparazzi agency that photographed him in staged shots.
One source connected to Meghan confirms what we posted Monday … that Meghan’s mom is now the frontrunner to give her daughter away. We’re told the 2 are extremely close.
As for who’s not close to Meghan … her half-sister, Samantha Grant. Our Meghan sources say the 2 have “absolutely no relationship” and “she knows nothing about Meghan’s life.” The sources warn that Samantha is trying to take the media for a ride by planting stories with no basis in fact.
Finally, we tried to find out if Meghan has reached out to her dad to see if she could change his mind. So far, no word back.