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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 July 2018

Meghan Markle’s father ‘won’t attend royal wedding’

Kensington Palace said it was "a deeply personal moment" for Prince Harry's bride-to-be

Bunting is displayed in Windsor, where Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle will marry at the castle on Saturday, but it is unknown who will give the bride away. Neil Hall / EPA
Bunting is displayed in Windsor, where Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle will marry at the castle on Saturday, but it is unknown who will give the bride away. Neil Hall / EPA

Prince Harry’s office declined to comment on Monday on a report by American celebrity news site TMZ that the father of his fiancee Meghan Markle would not attend the couple’s glittering wedding in Britain on Saturday.

TMZ said Thomas Markle had decided not to attend the marriage of his actress daughter to the British prince, who is Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, because he did not wish to embarrass the royals after media reports that he had staged paparazzi photographs.

A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: “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.”

A British newspaper reported that Ms Markle found out her father wasn't planning to attend her wedding through media reports, and that she had no prior warning.

The announcement was met with an outpouring of support for both Ms Markle and her father on social media.

Mr Markle was due to walk his daughter down the aisle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s home in the west of London, at a ceremony attended by Britain’s royals and celebrities, and in the glare of the world’s media.

He was due to meet the Queen, her husband and other senior members of the Windsor family this week.

However, Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Markle had agreed to stage pictures with a photographer ahead of his trip and the images had been sold to media for more than US$100,000 (Dh367,315).

TMZ said it had spoken to Mr Markle who said a paparazzi agency had approached him and offered him money, although the sum was not close to the reported figure.

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He said he had agreed to the pictures because he hoped they would improve his image, as previous paparazzi snaps had shown him buying beer and looking dishevelled, TMZ said.

On Monday, Ms Markle's half-sister Samantha admitted involvement in faking the photos, but insisted it wasn't motivated by money.

“There’s a lot of scrutiny that it was money motivated, it was not,” she told a British TV talk show.

The website also said Mr Markle had revealed he had suffered a heart attack six days ago but had checked himself out of the hospital in order to attend the wedding.

Earlier on Monday, Kensington Palace said Ms Markle and her mother would be staying at a luxurious hotel near Windsor the night before the ceremony. They were due to travel to the chapel together on Saturday.