Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, who was to walk his daughter down the aisle, will not be attending the royal wedding, according to US media reports.
Markle was quoted by TMZ, as saying he made the decision not to attend the May 19 ceremony after a backlash over an alleged $180,000 payment he received for staging photographs with UK tabloid the Mail on Sunday before Meghan’s wedding.
He acknowledged the photos looked “stupid and hammy”.
In addition, TMZ report Markle suffered a heart attack six days ago but checked himself out so he could attend the ceremony at Windsor Castle, the Queen’s home west of London.
However, the 73-year-old, a former Hollywood lighting director who declared bankruptcy in 2016 and now lives in Mexico, said he now would not fly to London because he does not “want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter”, TMZ reported.
In a statement, Kensington Palace did not confirm Markle would not be in attendance at the wedding, but asked for “understanding and respect” to be given to him.
“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding,” the statement read.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”
Markle’s reported decision comes after sensational claims he collaborated with the paparazzi to stage photographs before his daughter’s wedding.
In the controversial shots, Markle was seen looking at Harry and Meghan’s engagement photos online and reading a coffee table book called Images of Britain.
He was also seen being measured for a suit and lifting weights in an outdoor training session.
The photos were published globally last week and reportedly could have netted those involved up to £100,000 ($A180,000).
Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister took credit for the idea behind the staged photos.
“The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault,” she tweeted on Monday.
The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money.”
Kensington Palace said in an official announcement on May 4 that Mr Markle and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, would attend the wedding.
“Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion,” it said.