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

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

Nearly two weeks ago, Kensington Palace confirmed 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, though they later issued a statement after much speculation.  

“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 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.” 

So, as of publication time Tuesday afternoon, Thomas Markle still reportedly plans to walk his daughter down the aisle. Kensington Palace told HuffPost on Tuesday that they still had no comment regarding the news or the change in plans. 

Of course, Thomas Markle’s decision could still change, so here’s a rundown of everything that’s 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 will be at the wedding and both of them will 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 photos 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 opposite the Henry VII Gate of Win

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

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

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

May 15 — Thomas Markle says he will attend the royal wedding. 

Backtracking on his statements the day before, Thomas Markle told TMZ on Tuesday that he has decided to go to the wedding after speaking with his daughter.

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

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

We’ll see what happens over the next few days. 

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