Meghan Markle's father will reportedly skip the wedding of his daughter to Britain's Prince Harry on Saturday after images of him that went viral were staged with paparazzi.
A palace statement on "this hard situation" did not confirm the TMZ report that Thomas Markle had decided not to attend Saturday's wedding at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this hard situation".
Thomas Markle told TMZ he would no longer attend the wedding to avoid further embarrassing the royal family and his daughter. Both were expected to meet Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals in the days before the wedding.
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Markle's father was accused over the weekend by a British newspaper of staging photos for paparazzi near his home in Mexico.
TMZ said Thomas Markle was upset over the way his decision to have staged paparazzi photos taken of him preparing for the wedding has been received and chose to miss the wedding to avoid embarrassing his daughter and the royal family.
Mr Markle is also reported to have suffered a heart attack in recent days.
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The Mail on Sunday, a British media outlet, published photos and a surveillance video that it claims show Markle Sr., a former lighting director in Hollywood, staging photos in Rosarito, Mexico, where he now lives.
Ms Ragland, 61 - who divorced Mr Markle when Meghan was six - is thought to be arriving in the country shortly and will stay at Kensington Palace. The photos didn't attract much scrutiny until the Daily Mail published security video footage that appears to show Thomas, 73, teaming up with paparazzo Jeff Rayner to allegedly stage them. Meghan's estranged half-sister Samantha yesterday said she had suggested her father pose for the pictures.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited 600 guests to the wedding. "It was not for money". He called the photos "stupid and hammy".
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Harry, 33, spoke out previous year in a BBC documentary about the pain he felt knowing the role of the paparazzi in the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a 1997 Paris auto crash. "That was not the motive - it was my suggestion", she said.