Meghan Markle’s father overshadows wedding to Prince Harry

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Meghan Markle’s father overshadowed his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry by sowing confusion about whether he would walk her down the aisle or snub the British royal family by pulling out of the intricately planned celebration at the last minute.

As royal fans convened on the genteel English town of Windsor where Harry is due to wed the American actress on Saturday, the role of her father, Thomas Markle, was still unclear after he issued a flurry of statements to an American news website.

On Monday he was reported by the Los Angeles-based celebrity website TMZ.com to be unable to attend due to a heart attack and embarrassment over whether he had staged pictures with a paparazzi photographer. But the same website said on Tuesday he had changed his mind and would go to be part of history.

TMZ later quoted him as saying the trip was off due to his need for immediate heart surgery.

Markle, who lives in Mexico, had been due to walk his daughter down the aisle on Saturday at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in front of 600 guests including all the senior British royals and a smattering of celebrities.

Britain’s Sun newspaper, the country’s best selling, had to scramble to update its front page to reflect what it called the”Royal Sensation” of Thomas Markle’s absence under the headline:”I’ve got heart op today”. It offered four pages of analysis.

Harry, 33, a former army officer and one-time royal wild child, met his bride-to-be on a blind date in July 2016 after being set up through a mutual friend.

Beyond the pomp of a royal wedding which enthrals millions, the union marries the Hollywood glamour of Markle with one of the royal family’s most popular members.

As a divorcee, with a white father and an African-American mother, Markle’s background has provided a source of huge interest and comment, not all positive.

Details about the wedding have been closely controlled by Kensington Palace but reports of Thomas Markle’s intentions have thrown their intricate plans into flux. Kensington Palace declined to comment on Wednesday.

The bride-to-be’s parents are divorced and while Harry has been pictured with her mother Doria Ragland, 61, there had been speculation about the relationship with Thomas Markle, a former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms.