Royals | Celebrity

Meghan Markle's Father Suffers Heart Attack Days Before The Royal Wedding, Stirs Up Controversy

Meghan Markle's road to the altar has been rockier than previous royal brides like Kate Middleton.

Just days after learning what roles her parents will play at the wedding, the actress is facing another wedding-related drama.

Last week, after months of speculation, Harry's Press secretary, Jason Knauf, finally confirmed that Meghan's parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, were set to arrive in London during the week before the May 19 wedding so they meet the Queen and the rest of the royal family.

Meghan and her father ThomasIrishmirror.ie

Knauf said that they would be visiting with the queen, her husband Prince Philip, Harry's father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and with Harry's brother Prince William and his sister-in-law Kate.

He also explained that Doria will be by her daughter's side as they travel by car to Windsor Castle, where Thomas will walk her down the aisle of St. George's Chapel for the ceremony.

Just like all her well-wishers, Meghan was said to be "delighted" to have her parents with her on such a special day, but unfortunately, that sentiment did not last.

Thomas MarkleNews.com.au

Celebrity news website TMZ has recently reported that Thomas suffered a heart attack six days ago, and although he has recovered well enough to check himself out of the hospital, he will reportedly not attend his daughter's wedding.

But if you think that his health is the reason why he decided to no longer walk his daughter down the aisle, then you'd be mistaken.

Turns out, there is so much more to the story than most people know.

Thomas allegedly made a deal with a photo agency to have paparazzi take photos of him as he gets ready for the wedding, despite fully knowing that this would go against Harry and Meghan's wishes.

Thomas insisted that he didn't go through with the deal for the large payout, he simply wanted to improve his image.

Telegraph UK/ Coleman-Rayner

Since his daughter and Harry went public with their relationship, Thomas told TMZ that he has been ambushed several timed by paparazzi who took unflattering photos of him in embarrassing situations.

He explained that these candid photos, including ones where he's seen looking disheveled and buying beer, did not paint him in a positive light. He defended himself by revealing that he bought the beer for the those who guard where he lives.

It's been reported that Thomas accepted $100,000 in exchange for the photographs, but he claimed that those reports are false. According to him, the money was not that substantial.

To further prove his point that the deal wasn't for money, Thomas said that he has been previously offered between $50,000 and $100,000 for interviews, but he turned them all down.

Meghan's half-sister, Samantha Grant, has come to their father's defense by taking responsibility for setting up the paparazzi photoshoot.

Meghan's sister, Samantha GrantTVOvermind

Samantha, who hasn't had any contact with Meghan since 2015, said she wanted Thomas to pose for "positive" photographs "for the benefit of the royal family."

“The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family," she tweeted. "We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money."

While appearing on the British daytime talk show Loose Women, Samantha said that she isn't sure if her father did end up taking the payment, but "if he did I’m going to assume it was a pittance, because they don’t pay that much."

“It was really so that the world could see him doing the healthy things that he’s doing,” she added.

The scandal comes after the Kensington Palace's aides repeatedly told the media not to photograph Meghan's parents.

Global News

A source close to the family said that ever since Meghan's engagement, the aides have continued "to make interventions with the media out of concern for his [Thomas] safety and security."

So this recent incident has made things very "awkward," according to Samantha.  

As a result, TMZ has reported that Thomas will not walk Meghan down the aisle. He apparently does not want to embarrass his daughter or the royal family.

This isn't the first time Meghan's family has stirred up some controversy.

Samantha and Meghan's half-brother, also named Thomas, have both bashed their sister during interviews, and revealed that they will likely not attend the highly publicized wedding.

Samantha even wrote a book, The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister, about being estranged from her sister.

"No one was estranged, she was just too busy. Read my book complete with facts and photos," she wrote in a tweet promoting her book.

Thomas Markle Jr. News360

Thomas Jr. blamed Meghan's relationship with Harry on tearing their family further apart.

“It hasn’t been easy. Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry has shone a spotlight on our family. It doesn’t help when you have issues and your sister is engaged to royalty. It adds a whole new level of scrutiny,” he said. “We’ve been under a lot of stress because of all the attention. At some point you find yourself drinking too much to escape the pressure.”

The latest controversy comes just days after the Queen gave the couple her formal consent to marry. Under British law, the first six people in line of succession to the throne have to obtain the monarch's permission to wed.

The Instrument of Consent image was released a week before Harry, who became sixth in line after Prince Louis's birth, is set to marry the American actress.

According to the Associated Press, the handwritten document "features a design to the left of the text that incorporates a red dragon, the symbol of Wales. The design to the right features a rose, the national flower of the United States."

The Instrument of ConsentAP

At this time, neither the Kensington Palace, nor Thomas Markle has issued a statement addressing the photo scandal.

Update #1: A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry has issued a statement confirming that Thomas will not be present at the wedding.

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” said the spokesman. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

When asked if the "deeply personal moment" has to do with the staged paparazzi photos, the spokesperson said, "We are not getting into further details."

MEGA

Update #2: Thomas Markle has checked into a hospital after experiencing chest pains following his heart attack almost a week ago, reports TMZ.

He told the celebrity news site that the pain was triggered by the emotional upset he's recently experienced, especially after hearing the mean things his oldest daughter has to say about Meghan.

"I've been popping Valium for the pain, especially when I hear about my oldest daughter," he admitted.

Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.