Thomas Markle, the under-siege dad of royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle, was the man of the moment Tuesday as questions continued to fester about whether he willwalk his daughter down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on Saturday.First he was, then he wasn't,then he was again, and now, if you believe celebrity-scandal website TMZ, he isn't. Instead, he's having heart surgery early Wednesdayin Mexico and thus will miss the festivities because he won't be able to fly.
Don't look to Kensington Palace for clarity: Royal press representativescontinue to maintain their "no comment" stanceabout what is going on, possibly because they don't know themselves.And who can blame them?Thomas Markle's seeming indecisionabout whether he would be at the wedding in St.
George's Chapel has been mysterious , not least because developments are being filtered through only one media source: TMZ.Even the usually indefatigable British tabloids, not to mention their American counterparts,have failed to reach Markle to get him on the record about why he might miss a family wedding he himself has labeled "historic."On Monday, TMZ reported that Markle was a no-go.
He cited the heart attack he suffered last week from the stress of paparazzi coverage, plus his own regret and embarrassment when The Mail on Sunday,a British tabloid, revealed Sunday that he had colluded with a paparazzo to stage seemingly "candid" photos of himself preparing for the wedding.On Tuesday morning, TMZ was back with a new story: Markle told the website he had decided he would go tothe wedding, after daughter Meghan contacted him to plead with him. But there was a potential snag:He was back in the hospital with chest pains.
Markle told TMZ he had reconsidered his regret about the staged photos and now believes it was "stupid" but not a "serious transgression." Consequently, he wantedto be there Saturday for his daughter."I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," TMZ quoted him as saying.
"I'd like to be a part of history."By Tuesday afternoon, TMZ's latest update reported Markle changed his mind again. He thought he could get out of the hospital in time to travel to Windsor, but then realized it would be impossible after surgery.
"The surgery seems to be the final end to a roller coaster of speculation surrounding whether Mr. Markle would attend the royal wedding, just hours after it seemed Meghan had convinced her father to change his mind and walk her down the aisle," reported the Daily Mail.A final end?
Maybe. But how did it come to this? The palace has notclarified.
The last official statement,issued late Monday, was a masterpiece of obfuscation: It neither confirmed nor denied whether Markle would be at the wedding.Royal wedding snafu: Markle's half-sister blames press for dad's heart attack; won't say if he'll miss wedding"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," the statement said.The "difficult situation" has been months in the making.
Ever since Harry and Meghan's relationship became known publicly in the fall of 2016, Thomas Markle and his ex-wife, Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, have been pursued by the media for interviews, quotes and pictures.Once their engagement was announced in November, the media frenzy increased as publications sought to build profiles of Harry's in-laws-to-be.Thomas Markle, 73,seems to have been unprepared for the pressure.
A former Hollywood lighting directorwith money problems (he declared bankruptcy in 2016), he retired to a beach resort south of Tijuana in Baja California. His relationship with his daughter was loving but distant in recent years (she was living in Toronto while filming her legal drama, Suits), while her relationship with her mother has been close.Meanwhile, herrelationships with other members of the Markle family have been tense at best.
Hertwo estranged half-siblings,Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jr, have both said poisonous things about her in interviews for months and have publicly slammed her for not inviting them to the wedding.Samantha Markle acknowledged, in interviews Monday and Tuesday, that she advised her father to do the photo shoot with a paparazzo to improve his image in the media, whomshe dismissed as "vultures."She told Good Morning Britain that her father's heart attack was due to the "unbelievable" stress brought on by media attention.
Her father told TMZ he blames his heart attack on his son, who wrote a letter to Harry two weeks ago advising him not to marry Meghan and then blabbed about it to In Touch.So who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle? Maybe her mother, whohas been far more discrete than her ex-husband's family in the run-up to the wedding.
So far, the palace isn't saying.More: Royal wedding weather forecast is 'almost perfect' but rather cloudyMore: Royal wedding: Windsor in full swing for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big day