'This is not what she wants' - Meghan Markle 'devastated' father won't attend her wedding over photo scandal
Meghan Markle is reportedly "embarrassed" and "devastated" that her father will no longer attend her upcoming wedding after being embroiled in a paparazzi photo scandal.
On Sunday, it was reported that the bride-to-be's father Thomas Markle Sr (73), a retired lighting director living in a retirement community in Mexico, had agreed to take party in staged photographs with an American photographer. The photographs were sold for more than €100,000, but it's unclear whether or not he profited from their sale.
His daughter Samantha Markle, Meghan's half sister from whom she is estranged, said on Twitter yesterday that the staged shots were her idea in a bid to create a more positive public image for their father.
After TMZ reported that he would no longer be attending the wedding, claiming they had an on the record interview in which he also said he suffered a heart attack six days ago, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement pleading for privacy.
"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding," it said. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation."
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that her father would walk her down the aisle, but it's now believed her mother Doria Ragland will do the honours if she cannot convince her father to attend.
Meghan and fiancé Harry are said to be "doing everything they can to help him" and are concerned about the public pressure he is under. The palace already issued a warning to the global media outlets urging them not to publish pictures of Meghan's parents, who have no interest in pursuing the spotlight.
"This is not what she wants. She obviously wants her dad there. And the idea of contemplating him not being there now is not something that she wants to have to do," a source told the Daily Mail.
"She and Prince Harry are begging for people to give him some space. They have been saying this for weeks, while trying to offer him support and help. He is clearly feeling under immense pressure. The concern for him is real and genuine."
"He is a proud man who wants to be a father and not be taken care of, but it's quite difficult. Everyone needs to pause and think what this is doing to them and, more importantly, to him. It is a really worrying, scary situation."
Another source told the paper that Harry is "devastated" and wants to protect his partner, but is frustrated with the lack of control he has in how others perceive them from the outside.
Meghan and Harry are due to wed this Saturday, May 19 at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.