STYLE & BEAUTY
05/15/2018 01:29 pm ET Updated May 17, 2018

The Royal Wedding Drama Around Meghan Markle's Dad, Explained

Is he or isn't he going to the wedding?

With just days to go before the royal wedding, Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, has taken center stage.

Kensington Palace confirmed nearly two weeks ago that the former lighting director in Hollywood ― who now lives a low-key life in Rosarito, Mexico ― would be walking his daughter down the aisle on May 19. 

But on Monday, Thomas Markle told TMZ that he was no longer planning to attend the wedding, several days after he had suffered a heart attack and confirmed that he’d taken staged paparazzi photos of himself getting ready for the weekend. 

A spokesperson for the palace declined to comment on the matter to HuffPost on Monday, but later issued a statement.  

“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.” 

By Tuesday, Thomas Markle had apparently changed his tune, telling TMZ that he would be going to the wedding, even though he was reportedly back in the hospital for heart issues again. 

“Of course I’d walk her down the aisle,” he told the outlet. “This is a historic moment. I’d like to be a part of history.” 

Later the same day, however, Markle talked to TMZ again, saying that he had major heart surgery scheduled on Wednesday that would prevent him from attending the ceremony.

As of Tuesday evening, Thomas Markle would reportedly not walk his daughter down the aisle. Kensington Palace told HuffPost on Tuesday that it still had no comment regarding the news or the change in plans. 

Markle issued a statement Thursday confirming that her father would not attend the wedding, which means he won’t walk her down the aisle. 

“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” she said in the statement. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Dawn Service at Wellington Arch in London on April 25. 
Toby Melville / Reuters
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Dawn Service at Wellington Arch in London on April 25. 

Of course, Thomas Markle’s decision could still change. Here’s a rundown of everything that has happened so far. 

May 4 — Kensington Palace confirms Thomas Markle will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle. 

Kensington Palace issued a statement from Prince Harry’s press secretary confirming that both of Meghan Markle’s parents would be at the wedding and both of them would play important roles in the ceremony.

“On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle,” the statement said. “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.” 

Previous reports indicated that Thomas Markle wouldn’t be at the wedding and that the former actress’ mother, Doria Ragland, would walk her down the aisle. People confirmed that Thomas Markle would meet Prince Harry for the first time when he arrived in the U.K. a week before the ceremony.

May 13 — Reports say Thomas Markle staged paparazzi photos. 

In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding, photogs had snapped pictures of Thomas Markle reading a book about Great Britain, working out and getting fitted for a suit (presumably for the wedding). 

On Sunday, May 13, The Daily Mail published video that reportedly shows how the photographs were staged.

A CNN reporter holds up copies of British newspapers leading with a story on Thomas Markle outside Windsor Castle on May 15.
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images
A CNN reporter holds up copies of British newspapers leading with a story on Thomas Markle outside Windsor Castle on May 15.

May 14 — Thomas Markle says he will no longer attend the royal wedding. 

Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, said she was “entirely the culprit” for the staged photos and admitted, “It was my suggestion.” 

Later in the day, Thomas Markle told TMZ he staged the photos in an effort to rebrand his image and admitted the posed pictures look “stupid and hammy.” He also said that he had suffered a heart attack a week earlier. He told the outlet that in an effort not to embarrass his daughter or the royal family, he wouldn’t be attending the royal wedding. 

May 15 — Thomas Markle says he would like to attend the royal wedding if possible.

Despite his statements the day before, Thomas Markle told TMZ on Tuesday that he had spoken with his daughter and wanted to walk her down the aisle.

The former actress told her father she loved him and “was concerned about his health,” according to TMZ. She also reportedly told her father that she didn’t care about the paparazzi photos.

Thomas told the outlet he was experiencing serious chest pains and was back in the hospital, though he was trying to get cleared in time for the royal wedding.

Later on May 15 — Thomas Markle says he will not be able to attend the royal wedding after all.

Just hours after breaking the news that Thomas Markle did, in fact, want to go to the wedding, TMZ reported that major heart surgery would prevent him from attending.

“They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed,” he told the outlet, saying the procedure was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

May 17 ― Markle confirms her father will not be at the wedding. 

The former actress issued a statement on Thursday, in which she said her father would not be at the wedding.

She didn’t say who ― if anyone ― would walk her down the aisle and instead thanked fans for their support. 

“I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support,” she said in the statement. “Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.”

This article has been updated to reflect that Markle said her father would not attend the wedding. 

HuffPost

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