Over the weekend, TMZ learned that Thomas Markle (yes, Meghan’s father) had helped to stage all of those unflattering paparazzi images of himself that circulated the Internet last week.
According to TMZ’s report, Markle’s father was fed up with the paps taking unsolicited shots of him, so he did what any self-respecting dad of a transnational, royal-to-be bride would do—he took control of his public image, and like a bad Balenciaga campaign, he had two British Daily Mail photographers follow him around to take his photo.
On Saturday, the Daily Mail posted footage that shows Thomas Markle staging the pap-style photos. Adding salt to an already fresh wound, the Mail’s footage surfaced after Kensington Palace had issued a statement requesting that journalists and photographers respect Thomas Markle’s privacy. Perhaps even worse, Markle was paid for the photos, but claims that it wasn’t about the money.
“Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money — though nowhere near the reported $100k — and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image,” reports TMZ. “He admits the pics look ‘stupid and hammy.’ He says he was just going along with the paparazzi agency, which he now deeply regrets.”
The dramatic royal saga continued on Monday, when Meghan’s half-sister Samantha appeared on the UK talk show Loose Women, taking the blame (or the glory?) for the pap ploy.
“I have to say I am entirely the culprit,” Samantha said during her appearance. “So I said, really you need to show the world that you’re getting in shape and doing great healthy things. So I suggested it.”
Now, TMZ reports that Markle’s father will no longer be attending the royal wedding on Saturday, as he hopes to save his daughter from any further shame, though it might be little bit late for that.
Kensington Palace addressed the royal snafu in a statement on Monday afternoon:
“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.”
Whether or not Thomas Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle remains to be seen. Put differently: this is turning out to be the most non-traditional royal wedding to date.