Weddings tend to come with a steaming hot side dish of family drama, and the royal wedding appears to be no exception.

According to TMZ, Meghan Markle’s father Thomas Markle will no longer be attending his daughter’s wedding or walking her down the aisle this Saturday. The news comes just days after it was revealed that multiple paparazzi photos of Thomas “preparing” for the royal wedding were actually completely staged.

On May 12, the Daily Mail released footage of Markle’s father with professional photographer Jeff Rayner at the Omega internet cafe in Rosarito, Mexico. The cafe is the same place where Thomas was photographed, paparazzi-style, looking at online image of his daughter and her royal beau on a public computer. Jessica Anaya, the manager of the cafe, confirmed to the Daily Mail that the 73-year-old was collaborating with the photographer to set up the shots.

And that wasn’t the only staged pic. In another faux paparazzi shot, taken in early May, Markle’s father is being measured for what many presumed to be a suit for the royal event. The teen who measured him—17-year-old David Floreshas—revealed that Thomas gave him $15 to help as Rayner snapped photos.

But here’s the one that really broke our heart: In April, Thomas was snapped looking at an Images of Great Britain: A Pictorial Tour Through History picture book at his local Starbucks. The barista who prepared his drink—19-year-old Carlos Ortiz—confirmed that Thomas and Rayner arrived at the cafe together.

But it wasn’t just Thomas and Rayner that were involved with setting up the pics. Markle’s half-sister Samantha Markle has since claimed responsibility for the staged paparazzi photos. “I have to say I am entirely the culprit. I said, ‘You have to show the world you’re getting in shape.’ It was my suggestion. I don’t believe he was paid and if he was it was a pittance. I can understand it’s awkward for Kensington Palace,” Samantha said during an interview with British television show Loose Women.

Collectively, Daily Mail reported that the photos made more than $170,000, although Markle’s half-sister maintains that her father did not do it for the money. According to Us Weekly writer Omid Scobie, Samantha revealed on her protected Twitter account that she came up with the idea because the media was “unfairly making him [Thomas] look bad.” This was confirmed to TMZ by Thomas himself.


According to TMZ, Thomas suffered a heart attack last week, but was still planning on walking his daughter down the aisle on May 19. However, with the news of his photoshoots making headlines, he’s decided to bow in an effort to avoid further embarrassing his daughter.

Kensington Palace had confirmed on May 4 that Thomas would be attending the royal wedding, but on May 14, a spokesperson confirmed that is no longer the case. “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” the Palace spokesperson said. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”