Meghan Markle’s father has reportedly changed his mind and wants to attend her wedding to Prince Harry after pulling out following accusations of staging paparazzi photos.
Thomas Markle, 73, allegedly set up pictures of himself for the press in the run-up to the ceremony in Windsor on Saturday.
Celebrity website TMZ reported that he pulled out of the wedding because of the fallout from the photos.
But now TMZ reports Mr Markle has had a change of heart after speaking to the soon-to-be-princess, and wants to walk her down the aisle. The site says he will attend if his health improves enough after suffering a heart attack a week ago,
It was initially reported that Mr Markle decided not to participate as he doesn’t want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter.
Meghan Markle’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, defended their father, saying he was pressured into a “dangerous situation”.
She told Good Morning Britain: “He was living a very quiet peaceful life, not as a recluse. He’s a very intelligent man, he’s been gregarious and worked in entertainment for 40 years.
“He had spoken with press and was doing just that, but when he called me panicking on the freeway because he’s in a dangerous situation being followed by seven or eight cars, I think there have been examples in history of how dangerous that can be.
“So he was so stressed out they rented the house next to him in Mexico, four or five of them, he can’t open his blinds, he can’t go anywhere without being followed and really it’s quite atrocious and intrusive and I think it’s highly unethical.
“He was really having heart pains and suffered a heart attack, it was an unbelievable amount of stress.”
If Mr Markle cannot attend there is speculation that Meghan’s mother Doria could walk her down the aisle, that she might go alone, that Harry might meet her half way or that a member of the royal family might act as a substitute.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliam told Yahoo: ‘If possible she still obviously wants her father to walk her down the aisle as they share so many memories and it was being on set when she was a child and he was one of Hollywood’s top lighting directors that made her want to be an actress.
‘Her father is reclusive and has undoubtedly been unwise in his handling of the photographs. However this is her big day when she marries the world’s most eligible royal bachelor and she naturally wants him to walk her down the aisle.’
MEGHAN AND HARRY’S RELATIONSHIP:
The Mail on Sunday first reported that he set up paparazzi photos of himself being measured for a suit for the wedding and looking at online news articles about the marriage.
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Ms Markle and Prince Harry have appealed for “understanding and respect” for Mr Markle.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”
Mr Markle had been due to meet Prince Harry for the first time this week, along with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
It has been reported that Ms Markle is trying to persuade her father to change his mind and attend the wedding.
Her half-sister Samantha attempted to shoulder some of the blame when she earlier tweeted it was her idea for Mr Markle to pose for what she described as “positive photos” in a bid to combat his “bad” portrayal in the press, but stated it was not done for money.
The pictures were published earlier this month in a number of newspapers and news websites showing Mr Markle in a series of royal wedding related activities, apparently unaware he was being snapped.
Meghan’s father met her mother on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director when she was a temp in the studio. They divorced when Ms Markle was six.
Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Ms Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father and is said to be close to him.
There had been much speculation about whether Mr Markle would be involved in the wedding ceremony and his role was only announced by Kensington Palace during a press conference at the start of the month.
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