Kensington Palace has responded to reports that Meghan Markle’s dad will not walk her down the aisle on Saturday, saying: “This is a deeply personal moment”.
A spokesman said that she and Prince Harry “ask for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation”, after a celebrity news website ran an interview with Thomas Markle, saying he was pulling out of the Windsor nuptuals.
According to a TMZ report published on Monday, Mr Markle has backtracked on plans to be at his daughter’s wedding because of allegations that he posed for staged paparazzi photos of himself recently to make money.
In the interview, he also said that he suffered a heart attack less than a week ago, but checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend the ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Since then, claims were published in the Mail on Sunday that recent paparazzi shots of himself were staged by him, in co-operation with a British photographer.
As a result, he has decided not to go to the event so as not to “embarrass” the Royal Family and Meghan, TMZ reported.
He justified his actions by saying that paparazzi have “ambushed” him during the past year, capturing him in unflattering situations like “buying beer, looking dishevelled and reclusive.”
Mr Markle said he has been offered interviews between $50,000 and $100,000 since the future princess began dating Prince Harry, but he’s “turned all of them down.”
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When he was approached by the paparazzi agency in question who offered him money, he thought “there was no harm” in working with them as it would help him to repair his image, the site said.
On reflection, he said he thinks the resulting images looked “stupid and hammy” and “deeply regrets” agreeing to work with the agency.
Photos included Mr Markle wearing his wedding outfit, reading a photo book on Great Britain and looking at images of Meghan and Harry.
On Monday, Samantha Grant, Mr Markle’s daugther and Meghan’s half-sister, said on Twitter that it was her idea to have him photographed.
“The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault,” Grant tweeted Monday morning. “The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family.”
She added, “We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money.”
Mr Markle was previously married to the former Suits star’s mother Doria Ragland in 1979, however they divorced in 1987.