Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle, has reportedly cancelled plans to attend the fast-approaching royal wedding.
According to TMZ, Thomas, a retired lighting director who lives in Mexico, has pulled out of the imporant day because of two reasons: the first, reports that he staged paparazzi photos of himself ahead of the nuptials, and the second, because he suffered a heart attack six days ago.
The publication notes he checked himself out of the hospital in order to attend his daughter's big day, but after the photo fallout, has decided to skip the event so as not to embarrass the royal family or Meghan.
The staged images showed the father of the bride browsing pictures of his daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law Prince Harry in an internet cafe, reading up on British landmarks, lifting weights to get in shape for the wedding, and being fitted for a suit for the big day. But surveillance footage obtained by Britain's Mail alleges to show the photos were set up.
The picture-perfect photos allegedly netted up to $180,000.
Speaking with TMZ, Thomas said he "meant no harm to Meghan or the Royal Family" when he made a deal to allow a photo agency to take pictures of him ahead of the wedding.
"He says he had a reason, and it was not principally about money. Over the last year he's been ambushed by paparazzi who have photographed him in the most unflattering circumstances: buying beer, looking disheveled and reclusive. He's especially upset that they made him look like a lush," TMZ writes.
Meghan's estranged half-sister, Samantha Markle (who is not invited to the ceremony) has since taken the fall for the set-up.
"The bad press over my father… is my fault," Samantha wrote in a since-deleted tweet, according to a screenshot obtained by the Daily Mail. "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. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money."
WATCH: Samantha backs away from earlier comments made about her half-sister. Post continues...
Thomas was set to walk his daughter down the aisle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19.
Confirming the news on May 4th, a Kensington Palace spokesman said:
"Both of the bride's parents will have important roles in the wedding. On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle. Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St. George's Chapel. Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.") at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19.
However today they have responded to reports, urging for privacy in this difficult time.
"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," the statement said. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."
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