As the royal wedding date approaches, a controversy over the attendance, or otherwise, of Meghan Markle’s father is dominating the news.
Thomas Markle, a veteran lighting director, on Monday said he will not attend his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, May 19.
Reports in UK media on Sunday suggested that Markle was paid by photographers for pictures of his preparation for the wedding — which had been surfacing on the internet, in batches, for the past few weeks.
Staged ‘sweet moments’
Markle, 73, was said to have collaborated with photographer Jeff Rayner to stage the ‘sweet moments’.
In the paparazzi pictures, he was captured getting a suit tailored, poring on the wedding news online and reading a book on British landmarks.
Following the reports that it was staged, Markle told TMZ that he will not walk his daughter down the aisle.
He described the pictures as “stupid and hammy,” saying he does not want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter.
‘It was my idea’
Subsequently, Samantha, Markle’s half-sister, told a British TV network that she was the brain behind the ‘positive photos’ spree embarked upon by her father.
“I said the world has no idea that you’re getting in shape and doing healthy things,” Samantha Markle said.
“They don’t photograph you buying vegetables and pH water, they photograph you in as [many] unflattering ways as they can.
“I said, ‘Really you need to show the world you are getting in shape and doing great, healthy things.’ So I suggested it.”
While the uncertainty over Markle’s attendance raged on, Kensington Palace released a statement asking for “understanding and respect” for Markle “in this difficult situation”.
“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”
On Tuesday, Markle again spoke to TMZ, saying he has had a change of heart and will attend the wedding.
“I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle,” he said.
“Of course I’d walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I’d like to be a part of history.”
He, however, said his attendance is predicated on his doctor’s approval as he suffered a heart attack last week — owing to the stress of the public scrutiny.
Markle said he has spoken to his daughter, who told him that she was not angry about the incident.
As it stands, only on Saturday will it be known if he will walk his daughter down the aisle.