Our hearts are breaking for Meghan Markle. After what has been a tumultuous few days with her father Thomas Markle Sr.'s health, she released a statement via Kensington Palace on Thursday, May 17 about his role in her royal wedding on Saturday, May 19 — and it unfortunately reads some bad news.
"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health," she said. "I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."
A statement from Ms. Meghan Markle: pic.twitter.com/TjBNarmuBU
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2018
Earlier on Tuesday, May 15, Thomas announced he changed his mind and hoped to attend his daughter's upcoming nuptials. He previously stated that he would not make the wedding after suffering a heart attack a few days ago. However, on the evening of Tuesday, May 15, Thomas revealed he can no longer travel to Windsor, England for Meghan's wedding because he's now undergoing heart surgery.
"[Doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage, and put a stent where it is needed," Thomas told TMZ, adding that he is scheduled to have the operation early in the morning on Wednesday, May 16. On Tuesday, Thomas told TMZ that he hates "the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history" and hoped to escort his youngest daughter down the aisle. Thomas also revealed that Meghan called him on Monday, May 14 following the reports of his ill-health. Though Thomas was not able to answer the call, he said Meghan texted him that she loved him and was concerned about his health.
It was also revealed that Meghan and Harry allegedly have "mixed emotions" during what's supposed to be a really exciting time for them. "This is a serious situation. Meghan and Harry are very concerned," a source told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday, May 16. The insider added, "Meghan and Harry have mixed emotions right now, between their concern for Meghan’s dad and the exciting start of their life together."
Earlier on Tuesday, TMZ also reported that Meghan, Prince Harry, and Kensington Palace were "blindsided" by Thomas' decision to bail on the wedding. The palace also officially responded to the drama with the following statement at the time: "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."
The news of Thomas' health issues comes in the wake of him also admitting that he staged a series of paparazzi photos in recent months showing himself reading a book about Britain and Google searching articles about his daughter. Thomas told TMZ that he "meant no harm to Meghan or the royal family when he made a deal to allow a photo agency to take pics of him getting ready for the wedding and had a reason and it was not principally about money."
Since Meghan announced her engagement to Harry in November 2017, the former actress' reclusive father said he's been "ambushed" by paparazzi and upset that they've photographed him in unflattering ways. Thomas allegedly believed staging new paparazzi photos — for which he was reportedly paid $1,500 — would be "no harm" and "would help recast his image."
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Tonight, Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle were honoured to meet wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have overcome adversity and taken on remarkable sport and adventure challenges, at the annual #EndeavourAwards The Endeavour Fund gives these people the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges, and is led by the Royal Foundation. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for their incredible feats.
He then told TMZ that he now believes the staged pics look "stupid and hammy" and "deeply regrets" being paid for the photos. Thomas previously stated that he would not attend the royal wedding because "he doesn't want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter."
Just a few days ago, a source close to Meghan told People that Thomas and the royal-to-be's relationship has recently been better than ever after years of ups and downs. "Meghan loves her dad. Like any father-daughter relationship, there have been ups and downs over the years. But they are in a good place now," the insider shared. Maybe not after this…
Scroll down to learn more about Meghan's dad, Thomas.
Will Thomas Markle Sr. walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?
Not anymore. However, earlier this year, it was reported that Thomas was "overjoyed" to walk his little girl down the aisle at her nuptials. "Thomas Markle Sr. is overjoyed to be beside his little girl on the day she becomes a princess — even if he has to battle his demons to get there," a source recently told The Sun. "He’s not exactly thrilled at facing the world’s glare. But nothing will stop him from having Meghan on his arm for the big day."
And Meghan couldn't be more excited either, so now we're sad she won't be getting her way. "She’s told Harry that she wants her dad to walk her down the aisle. Harry is totally supportive and will go along with whatever Meghan wants, even if the palace might not like it," a source recently told Life & Style.
How does Thomas Markle Sr. feel about Meghan Markle marrying Prince Harry?
He's seemingly thrilled about it! Back when the news broke in November, Thomas released a statement with his ex-wife and Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland. "Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person," they said. "To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents."
How old is Thomas Markle Sr.?
Thomas was born in 1945, so that puts him in his mid-70s today. He's about four years older than Harry's father, Prince Charles, who is 69 years old today.
What does Thomas Markle Sr. do?
Currently, Thomas is living a "reclusive" life in Mexico. Prior to that, however, he was a lighting director in Hollywood, and worked on popular shows including Married… With Children and General Hospital. In 2011, Thomas even took home the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series for his work on the soap opera. Do you think he's the one who introduced his former Suits star daughter to a life in showbiz?
Is Thomas Markle Sr. married?
Not anymore! Thomas was previously hitched to Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland, from 1979 until 1988. He never remarried.
How many kids does Thomas Markle Sr. have?
Besides Meghan, Thomas is also a dad to a 53-year-old daughter, Samantha Grant, whom he welcomed with ex Roslyn Markle in 1965. He's additionally a dad to a 51-year-old son, Thomas Markle Jr. However, it's been reported that both of Meghan's half-siblings will not be invited to her wedding.
Has Thomas Markle Sr. met Prince Harry yet?
Not yet! "Everybody was really happy. And he’s talked to my dad a few times, hasn’t been able to meet him just yet, but it’s all been, it’s all been worth every effort," Meghan said in her first official interview with Harry after they announced their engagement.
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