Meghan Markle's dad will not attend Saturday's royal weddingNew York Daily News May 14. 2018 8:10PM
In a sudden change of plans just days before the royal wedding, Meghan Markle's father will reportedly not attend the nuptials this Saturday so as not to "embarrass" his daughter after it was revealed he staged a series of paparazzi photos.
Thomas Markle, 73, told TMZ that he was set to walk Meghan down the aisle — and had even checked himself out of the hospital after a heart attack last week to do so — but has backed out of his duties after the scandal.
The former television lighting director was photographed in March completing various tasks in preparation for the wedding, including thumbing through a book of British landmarks, preparing his suit for the big day, and looking at photos of his daughter and Prince Harry's engagement on the computer at a Mexican cafe.
But additional photos published by the Daily Mail last week reveal the photos were staged with the help of photographer Jeff Rayner, who trailed Markle to the cafe and arranged the shots.
The royal-in-law-to-be told TMZ he chose to hire an agency to photograph him completing the tasks in a push to help improve his image.
Markle said he'd been unhappy with the previous paparazzi shots circulating, which featured him buying beer and looking "disheveled and reclusive."
He said he decided to take matters into his own hands when a paparazzi agency approached him — though he now says he regrets the photos, which he deemed "stupid and hammy."
Despite Markle's admission, Meghan's half sister Samantha Markle, who has ripped her sibling apart in the press as a fame-hungry social climber who shunned her family upon achieving fame, later took responsibility for the scandal.
"I'm entirely the culprit. I said to him to show the world, 'I'm getting in shape and getting healthy,' so I suggested it to benefit him and the royal family," she told the Daily Mail Monday.
“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” Kensington Palace said. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”