LONDON — Will Meghan Markle’s father be at her wedding this Saturday to walk his daughter down the aisle? Has the media's zoom lens of attention on Meg's Valium-popping pop been “atrocious and intrusive,” as Markle's half-sister claims? Or is Markle's half-sis a little media “vulture” herself, as celebrity TV personalty Piers Morgan claimed Tuesday?
Ah, nothing like a British royal wedding.
Whether Markle's father shows at St. George's Chapel this weekend was the subject of fevered speculation among royal obsessives Tuesday.
Thomas Markle told the celebrity news site TMZ on Tuesday that he wanted to walk is daughter down the aisle but wasn't sure if he could.
"Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history," he told the website.
But he wasn’t sure whether he would be able to travel to Britain. He said he was back in the hospital following chest pains and wasn’t sure whether the doctors would let him out in time. He also told the website that Meghan tried calling him Monday but that he missed the call. She then texted him saying she loved him and was concerned about his health, the website said.
His latest chat with TMZ comes after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle asked for “understanding” amid claims that Thomas Markle won’t be attending the royal wedding.
Kensington Palace, the official residence of Harry and Meghan Markle, issued a statement late Monday following reports that Markle’s father, who lives in Mexico, had pulled out of the wedding. The statement did not confirm or deny speculation surrounding his attendance.
“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,” the statement said.
According to TMZ, as of Monday, Markle had decided to pull out of the wedding because he doesn’t want to embarrass his daughter or the royal family. The website also claimed that he had recently suffered a minor heart attack.
Not to be scooped, the Daily Mail tabloid ran a story with the headline: "Two Happy Meals and a milkshake from McDonald's and a bucket of KFC, what Meghan's dad bought two days after 'heart attack.' ”
TMZ said that Markle senior regretted working with a photographer and posing for pictures, which included photos of the retiree getting measured for his wedding suit and another of him looking at pictures of his daughter and future son-in-law. The elder Markle told the website he looked “stupid and hammy.”
The 73-year-old retired Hollywood lighting director told TMZ he was “popping Valium” because of chest pains brought on by “emotional upset.” Markle worried he might return to the hospital soon.
The reports of a possible no-show by Markle’s father were splashed across the front pages of several British newspapers Tuesday.
Markle’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, said that she was the one to blame for the snaps and that they were intended to portray her father in a positive light.
“The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault,” she said, according to tweets seen by the BBC. “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.”
On Tuesday, Markle's half-sister tangled with host Morgan on ITV's “Good Morning Britain” show.
“You say that this is all the media’s fault that he’s not coming to the wedding because of this,” Morgan said. “Many of our viewers may have watched your activities in a year and half and noticed you have been treating your sister in a shabby way.”
Samantha Markle defended her father's granting permission to be photographed. “The goal of those photographs was basically because he’s feeling defenseless,” she said. “A person has the right to say enough is enough.”
“Yeah, but here’s the problem. The media have been bombarded with letters from Kensington Palace and Thomas Markle, as well,” claiming the press should not intrude on his privacy, Morgan said.
“Now it turns out he was actively invading his own privacy for a check from a photographer,” he said.
Then the host lashed into Markle's half-sister for cashing in, as well, by planning a tattletale book, “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.”
“There’s no bigger media vulture than you,” Morgan said. “You’ve been trashing her for two years, you little vulture.”
This month, palace officials said that Markle’s father and her mother, Doria Ragland, would arrive in Britain this week and would spend time with senior royals, including Queen Elizabeth II. Officials also said that on the day of the wedding, Markle’s mother would accompany her in a car ride to Windsor Castle and that Markle’s father would walk his daughter down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel.