The highly anticipated (by some) royal wedding ceremony between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is just days away – with the ceremony pencilled in for the 19th of May, this Saturday – and as with any wedding, there have been many hiccups and complications in the week leading up to the big day. The most primary and significant of these difficulties has been the recent decision by the bride’s father Thomas Markle to not attend the ceremony.

Following a recent embarrassment where Thomas Markle was caught having staged a paparazzi photo shoot of himself trying on suits for the wedding, he has decided that he is too humiliated to come over to the UK and attend the ceremony, even though he was supposed to be walking his daughter down the aisle on the big day.

After the news of the fraudulent paparazzi photographs came to light, the father of the royal bride also claimed that he had a heart attack, although the validity of this claim has been brought into question.

Samantha Markle, the half-sister of Meghan and daughter of Thomas, has defended her father’s claim, saying that he has suffered from “heart pains” in the past and mentioned on the chat show “Good Morning Britain” that people having heart attacks without realising it all the time. They only become aware of it – as her father did – once they’ve gone in for testing. Samantha said that heart attacks and similar episodes are “not always [as] dramatic” as they’re made out to be in films and soap operas, which she says was “the case” for her father.

TMZ made the first claims about Thomas Markle’s photo conspiracy

The news that Thomas Markle, who lives in Mexico, had been in cahoots with a photography agency based in Los Angeles to stage a bunch of paparazzi pictures was first revealed by the US tabloid outlet TMZ, which specialises in celebrity and showbiz news. Markle is new to the celebrity world, as he’s gone from being the father of a little-known TV actress to being the father of royalty who is invited to the front row of the most talked-about event of the year – an event that he has now decided against coming to.

The Markle family still have some hope that their troubled patriarch will change his mind, but for now, he is saying that he will not be coming to the UK, he will not be attending the wedding, and he will not be walking his daughter down the aisle. The bride and groom are not feeling bitter about Thomas Markle’s pulling out of the wedding – at least in how they are handling the situation publicly – as a statement from Kensington Palace said that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are asking for well-wishers to send their “understanding and respect” to the bride’s father during this difficult time.

The statement added that this development in the royal wedding preparation is “deeply personal” for the bride.

Meghan Markle’s father ‘doesn’t want to embarrass’ her

Thomas Markle’s reason for pulling out of attending the royal wedding has been reported by TMZ to be “because he doesn’t want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter.” The tabloid news source also noted that he had not wanted to hinder the wedding or his daughter with this whole photo conspiracy, and also stated that he was no motivated by money in his decision to collude with the photo agency and sort this whole thing out.

Apparently, ever since his daughter became Prince Harry’s beau, Thomas Markle has been surrounded by photographers who have been taking unexpected and unflattering images of him. His reasons for organising the photographers that would be following him around were perfectly innocent – he simply wanted to orchestrate more flattering images of himself to appear in the media.