Meghan Markle's estranged father, Thomas Markle, will undergo heart surgery and will most likely skip his daughter's wedding day this weekend.
He Can't Make His Mind Up
It seems like Thomas Markle may not even attend the ceremony, according to recent reports.
He flip-flopped several times over the past few weeks, initially claiming he wasn't going due to a fight over paparazzi photos later revealed to be staged. He then changed his mind to say he would attend. He finally confirmed that he could not be there due to a planned heart procedure.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister, Samantha, described in an interview with Australia's Sunrise morning TV show the unbelievable stress their father is under.
She also advised that she was unsure whether Thomas would travel to Windsor for the wedding.
"He sent me a message that he was undergoing heart surgery. We're all hoping he pulls through this now," she said.
Unwittingly Courting Controversy
Meghan's estranged father became embroiled in a tabloid controversy this past weekend after reports emerged that he staged paparazzi shots for publicity.
The pics in question showed Markle, acting as though he didn't realize there were cameras nearby, engaged in a series of wedding-related activities, including being measured for a suit.
He told TMZ on Monday that he would not be attending the wedding due to the media scrutiny and he feels like he would embarrass his daughter. He then backtracked, explaining he initially intended to be there but had to pull out due to health issues.
Not In The Best Shape To Attend
The final word on the matter, at least for now, suggests that health concerns and a planned surgery will prevent him from attending.
"They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed," he explained to TMZ of the surgery.
Markle had a heart attack a week ago, allegedly triggered by the stress of the royal wedding and the surrounding attention. He checked himself into the hospital on Tuesday, and it was quickly established that surgery was required.
Tuesday evening found the BBC confirming that Meghan wanted her father to be there on Saturday when she marries Prince Harry, but that her primary concern is for his health.
"[This is] a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation," read a statement from Kensington Palace in relation to the reports.
Thomas was due to meet Prince Harry for the first time this week, along with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. He was also expected to walk Meghan down the aisle at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday.
Samantha, on the other hand, has not spoken to Meghan in years. She will not be present at the wedding and argued on Good Morning Britain that the photos of her father, which were done at her insistence, had been orchestrated with the best intentions, and not for money.
The Show Must Go On
Thomas Markle lives in Mexico and is a former lighting director, having worked on TV shows including Married with Children and General Hospital. He and his team won two Emmys for their work on the hit soap.
Meghan was just six when Thomas divorced her mother, Doria Ragland. Markle also has two children, one of whom is Samantha, from his first marriage. He filed for bankruptcy two years ago.
For her part, Meghan has been outwardly positive about her relationship with her father, admitting to the press that she's always been a total daddy's girl.
The royal wedding will take place this Saturday, May 19, at 12:00 BST. Meghan will spend the night before at a Buckinghamshire hotel with her mother, while Prince Harry will be at the Dorchester Collection's Coworth Park in Ascot, with Prince William.