Meghan Markle's dad Thomas Markle will not walk her down the aisle as he pulls out of royal wedding after admitting staging paparazzi pics and 'suffering heart attack'
The bombshell revelation came as he admitted he was paid to pose for paparazzi pictures sold to news outlets worldwide.
Thomas, 73, who also said he had a heart attack a week ago, insisted he will not now walk Meghan down the aisle for fear of embarrassing her or the royals over the paparazzi deal.
Prince Harry is said to be blaming himself over the last-minute hitch, while a pal of Meghan revealed the actress has been pleading with her dad to be by her side for the big day.
Last night Thomas said he was going to check back into hospital after suffering more chest pains.
Mum Doria, 61, may now have to give her away at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel.
Thomas' no-show revelation, just four days before the wedding at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel, caught the Palace completely by surprise – throwing its plans into chaos.
Kensington Palace said last night: “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.”
Thomas, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, was supposed to be flying to London this week to meet the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Wills and Kate at a lunch ahead of the ceremony.
If he sticks to his refusal to attend the wedding Doria, 61, will probably take over his duties.
It is understood Meghan, 36, had already asked her to be on standby in case Thomas was too unwell to come to the UK.
Thomas admitted in an interview with US website TMZ that he did a deal with a photo agency to take pictures of him, saying he meant “no harm.”
They showed him in Rosarito reading a book on British history, working out with weights, being measured for a wedding suit and looking up Harry and Meghan at an internet café.
The pictures were sold around the world — before the Mail On Sunday revealed they had been staged.
His confession is embarrassing for Kensington Palace, which had issued strong legal letters in an attempt to protect Thomas’s privacy.
He admitted in the interview that the staged paparazzi pictures looked “stupid and hammy.”
A source said: “Tom was really upset when he was photographed looking unkempt and dishevelled earlier this year.
“He thought they made him look like a lush and he wanted a more positive image of him out there.
“So that’s why he colluded with the picture agency and photographer to do better shots.”
Thomas admitted accepting money from agency Coleman Rayner for the pictures.
He also said he had suffered a heart attack last Tuesday and had checked himself out of hospital so he could attend the wedding.
He had been spotted stocking up on KFC just two days before suffering the heart attack, also seen grabbing two Happy Meals and a milkshake at a McDonald's.
He was pictured driving away from his home last Wednesday and staying the night at a motel in San Diego after crossing the US border.
The next day, Thursday, he lifted two heavy pots of flowering plants and put them on Doria’s door step in Los Angeles along with a card.
He was then seen driving around LA, visiting the post office, pharmacy and bank before heading back to Mexico that evening.
Thomas’s daughter Samantha, Meghan’s estranged half-sister, said the posed pictures were her idea.
Samantha, who is not invited to the wedding, told ITV’s Loose Women she said: “My father doing staged photos is my fault.
“I suggested he do positive photos. It was not for money.”
She said she had no idea if he had been paid but added: “If he was it would have been a pittance. I’m entirely the culprit.
"I said to him to show the world ‘I’m getting in shape and getting healthy’ so I suggested it to benefit him and the Royal family.”
Thomas’s grandson Tyler Dooley, 25, yesterday said his granddad had suggested only on Sunday that he would be at the wedding.
He said: “My grandfather is in pieces – he is broken. He is not doing well.
“He is a very reclusive guy — he has been in the spotlight his entire life behind the cameras and now he has been thrusted into all this with the Royals.
“It is overwhelming. My grandfather just wants to be left alone — he wants the peace and the quiet back.”
Tyler, a debt recovery worker, said of his Sunday discussion with Thomas: “He emailed me and I emailed him back.
“He said he’s had some serious complications because of the stress, anxiety and pressure. I was also told that he had a heart attack. He had a pretty big health scare.
“He told me that he loves me very much and he’s sorry about everything that’s happening.
“He said plans to get the care and the help he needs after the wedding — which told me that he was going.”
Tyler said he believes that Thomas will change his mind again and go to the ceremony — because he loves Meghan so much.
He added: “There is no way he is not going to go to that wedding. That is his daughter and she loves him more than anything in the world.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Meghan — she is everything to me.
“She knows she has a big support base behind her and that’s all she needs to know.”
If Thomas does not turn up, Doria will be the bride’s only immediate relative at Saturday’s wedding.
But Tracey Dooley, estranged wife of Meghan’s brother Thomas Jr, is already in London with her two sons despite not having an invite.
The three are set to appear on Good Morning Britain as part of the show’s Royal wedding coverage.
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