Doubts that Thomas Markle Sr, 73, would give his daughter away on Saturday followed claims by USA celebrity website, TMZ, that he was pulling out amid allegations he cooperated with a Los Angeles based photo agency to stage pictures of himself preparing for the wedding day.
Meghan Markle's half-sister said Tuesday that their retired father is under an "unbelievable" amount of stress because of relentless pressure from reporters and paparazzi hounding him at his home in Mexico.
TMZ reported that several members of Markle's extended family including her nephew, Tyler Dooley, his brother, Thomas, and their mother Tracy, who was married to Markle's half-brother Thomas Markle Jr., were spotted arriving at London's Heathrow airport on Monday morning. Mr Markle reportedly told TMZ that he's back in hospital after experiencing chest pains after he suffered a suspected heart attack.
Speculation has swirled around her father, Thomas Markle, amid media reports he is not able to attend because he is due to have heart surgery. "They (doctors) will go in and clear blockage, fix damage and put a stent where it is needed", Markle told the website. "If not, we will still be cheering her on".
Our palace sources say the plans included a security detail for Thomas Markle, along with accommodations and access to various events. "She obviously wants her dad there", a friend of Meghan's said. The reason for opting out of the royal wedding as stated by Thomas was that he suffered from a heart attack, a week ago.
I wish the same for Meghan, Prince Harry, my children, friends, family and those who need our prayers and love. They're not always that loud.
"He wants to protect [Meghan] and this is really hard for him to swallow", they add.
His absence has broached the question: who will walk Meghan down the aisle? I didn't want him deprive of that.
According to initial reports, Meghan actually wanted her mother to walk her down the aisle.
Dooley is expected to cover the royal wedding for an American broadcasting network and said she "will be in the front row cheering them on" in Windsor.