With only four days until the royal wedding, it has been confirmed that Meghan Markle‘s father, Thomas Markle Sr., will no longer be attending the wedding.
Despite having been set to walk Meghan down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel, Thomas’ sudden change of plans come a week after he suffered a heart attack and was checked into hospital. He told TMZ that he had checked himself out early in order to attend the nuptials, but backed out after admitting to staging photographs for the paparazzi.
The photo controversy seems to be the motivating factor behind the decision not to attend, with Thomas striking a deal with paparazzi to photograph him getting ready for the wedding to counter previous unflattering images taken of him, which included buying alcohol.
As TMZ reports, “Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money — though nowhere near the reported $100k — and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image.”
He has since called the images “stupid and hammy” and has decided not to attend the wedding to avoid causing Meghan the the Royal family any embarrassment.
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Thomas told TMZ he meant no harm to anyone and that “he had a reason and it was not principally about money.”
Thomas’ other daughter and Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, has also spoken about the controversy, appearing on Loose Women to clarify that she was behind the plan and not her father.
“I have to say I am entirely the culprit … 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. 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. 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.”