The Truth Behind Meghan Markle’s Dad’s Heart Problems (Plus, the Real Reason He’s Pulling Out of the Wedding)

With just days to go until the May 19, 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, her father announced he no longer plans to attend. Thomas Markle Sr. made the decision amidst the shame of being caught staging photos of himself with paparazzi, accorindg to TMZ. The 73-year-old also suffered a recent heart attack and lingering chest pains, per the same news report.

Here we’ll look at Kensington Palace’s response to the reports (page 4) and just who might walk Meghan down the aisle if her father isn’t there (page 7).

Reports of a heart attack

Thomas Markle Sr. walking outside of a shop.

Thomas Markle Sr. has had a hard week leading up to his daughter’s big wedding day. | Inside Edition via YouTube

TMZ reported on May 14 that Meghan’s dad suffered a heart attack several days prior and was now having chest pains again. The celebrity news website said he told them he planned to head to the hospital again and was emotionally upset.

It was unclear if Thomas had received medical treatment or diagnosis for chest pains. His daughter Samantha Markle said, “He was really having heart pains and suffered a heart attack,” citing an “unbelievable amount of stress” he was under.

Next: The paparazzi story

Paparazzi photo shoots

Thomas Markle Sr.'s photos.

These photos had been staged to help promote his image. | Panainforma via Instagram

The news about Thomas Markle Sr.’s health followed a report on May 14 that he had colluded with paparazzi to stage photos of himself. The media had released pictures of him being measured for a suit and sitting in an Internet café. He is shown reading a book Images of Britain and browsing news stories online about his daughter and Prince Harry.

Daily Mail later released footage that appears to show the former TV lighting director arriving at the café with the photographer and working with him on poses.

Next: Why he agreed to the photos

Reports he’s pulling out of the wedding

Thomas Markle Jr. with a young Meghan Markle.

Meghan Markle might not have her father on her wedding day. | Meghanmarkle_hd via Instagram

Due to the stress of the photo scandal, Meghan’s dad said he was no longer going to the wedding, TMZ reported on May 14, adding he told them he did not want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter. He said he only agreed to the photo shoot to help recast his image after the media has portrayed him in a less-than-favorable light.

The 73-year-old had been set to walk his daughter down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. No one may really know for sure until the wedding day who play this role and who all from Meghan’s family will attend.

Next: What the palace had to say

Kensington Palace’s response

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Attend The 'Endeavour Fund Awards' Ceremony.

Kensington Palace released a statement. | Ben Stansall-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kensington Palace released a statement on May 14 on behalf of Meghan and Harry. “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.”

Next: How Meghan feels

Meghan’s reaction

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle standing together.

A stressful thing for Meghan Markle to deal with. | Oli Scarff-WPA Pool/Getty Images

“An insider” told Us Weekly on May 14 that the soon-to-be royal is “upset and disturbed by the entire ordeal and just wants to move past it. She doesn’t want to let anything ruin her day and is trying to keep focus on the weekend.”

Earlier in May, Harry’s communications secretary revealed the prince had yet to meet his future father-in-law. The couple was “very much looking forward to welcoming” Meghan’s family for the wedding celebration, a palace statement read.

Next: What her half-sister is saying

Meghan’s half-sister’s response

Samantha Grant during an interview.

Samantha Grant had something to say. | Good Morning Britain via YouTube

Samantha Markle, Thomas Sr.’s daughter from his first marriage, defended her father, saying he was pressured into a “dangerous situation” after being thrust into the public eye. She revealed he had called her panicking when being followed by paparazzi on the freeway.

She added her father has been subjected to “atrocious and intrusive” media attention.

Next: Who will escort Meghan down the aisle

Who will walk Meghan down the aisle?

Meghan Markle attends the first annual Royal Foundation Forum held at Aviva.

The wedding is sure to be eventful. | Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The most obvious choice is her mother, Doria Ragland, who is already in London for wedding preparations. Unlike Thomas Sr., Ragland has spent time with the couple and gotten to know Harry. She joined them at the Invictus Games in Canada in September 2017. She will accompany her daughter by car to the chapel for the wedding.

Other possible options include her in-laws to be, such as Prince Charles, Prince Philip, or Prince William.