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 to 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.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “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.”
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.
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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.
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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.
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Samantha and her brother Thomas Jr. (Meghan’s half-brother) will not be at the wedding on May 19. A source tells PEOPLE that Meghan is not close with her half-siblings.
“Meghan has no relationship with her half-siblings, nor has she ever had one,” the source says. “They were out of the house by the time she was born.”
A source close to the former Suits star tells PEOPLE: “Meghan loves her dad. Like any father-daughter relationship, there have been ups and downs over the years. But they are in a good place now.”
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, will be staying at a hotel with her daughter the night before the royal wedding. They will then travel together by car to St. George’s Chapel where they were expected to meet Meghan’s dad to walk her down the aisle.