This is reportedly turning into a high-stress start to the wedding week. With six days and counting until Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s highly-anticipated royal wedding, the bride’s father, Thomas Markle, shared on Monday, May 14, that he will not be walking his daughter down the aisle after the fallout from a separate paparazzi scandal that culminated this past weekend.
According to TMZ, the father of the bride quietly suffered a heart attack six days ago without the public’s knowledge. With the tight timeline, he decided to check himself out of the hospital so that he could prepare for the nuptials.
Then, over the weekend, Meghan’s estranged half-sister, Samantha Markle, confirmed that she had previously staged paparazzi photos for Thomas, though the motivation wasn’t financial. Meghan’s half-sister–who did not receive an invitation to attend the royal wedding–orchestrated with an agency to document Thomas in a flattering light leading up to the wedding day.
Paparazzi moments from the deal included securing snaps of Thomas reading up on Great Britain, along with images of the father getting fitted in a suit for the nuptials. There was even a staged moment of Thomas researching the couple at an internet cafe leading up to their May 19 wedding date.
The dramatic family revelation was startling for several reasons: Prince Harry specifically requested from members of the media to give his fiancee’s father privacy leading up to the nuptials. On Monday, May 14, a Kensington Palace spokesman released a statement on behalf of the royal couple addressing the hullabaloo.
“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” it read in the statement. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”
Kensington Palace also announced in early May that Markle’s parents would both have roles in the wedding ceremony.
“The first thing I would like to share is that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms. Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding,” a spokesperson for Prince Harry shared. “Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland will be arriving 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.”
Thomas told TMZ on Monday that he did not intend to hurt his daughter or the royals, and due to the set of circumstances, he no longer wants to attend to the royal wedding. The reason, he says, is to avoid embarrassing his daughter and her new family.
Samantha, meanwhile, claims that working with the agency was entirely her idea, as shared with the Mail on Sunday.
Keep up with The Knot for all details related to the royal wedding happening Saturday, May 19.