Meghan Markle is pleading with her father to still attend her wedding to Prince Harry after he reportedly said he no longer wants to walk her down the aisle at St. George's Chapel following a newspaper report in the U.K.'s The Mail on Sunday alleging he staged photographs with a paparazzi photographer.
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Markle, 36, is reportedly said to be devastated at the prospect that her father might not attend her wedding.
Kensington Palace issued a statement Monday evening in the wake of the scandal.
"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."
It is understood that Kensington Palace was caught completely off guard after Thomas Markle Sr., 73, told TMZ that he doesn’t want to cause further embarrassment to his daughter and the royal family, and thought it best he avoid his daughter's wedding.
Markle Sr. was due to meet his future son-in-law for the first time this week and was due to be introduced to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William and Princess Kate also ahead of the wedding, a meeting that could be particularly awkward given the scandal.
The Mail on Sunday published photos and a surveillance video that it claims show Markle Sr., a former lighting director in Hollywood, staging photos in Rosarito, Mexico, where he currently lives.
He was photographed reading articles online about his daughter’s wedding to Harry, exercising and scanning over a book titled “Images of Britain.”
One photo showed Markle Sr. allegedly being measured for his wedding suit by a party store assistant who the Mail claims was tipped $15 by Markle Sr. for participating in the photo.
The photos were taken less than two months before Harry and Markle's May 19 wedding and reportedly sold for nearly $140,000 by the paparazzi agency who took the photographs.
After Markle Sr. faced backlash for the photos, he spoke to TMZ and said he no longer plans to walk Markle down the aisle at St. George's Chapel on Saturday because he "doesn't want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter."
TMZ also reports that Markle Sr. suffered a heart attack less than a week ago, but checked himself out of the hospital in order to attend his daughter's wedding.
Markle Sr. and his ex-wife, Doria Ragland, Markle’s mom, are the only two of Markle’s family members invited to her wedding. Markle and Harry will wed before an expected 600 guests at St. George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Markle Sr.’s daughter from another marriage, Samantha Markle, took the blame for the allegedly staged paparazzi photos.
“The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault,” she tweeted. “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.”
TMZ reports that Markle Sr. felt the photographs look "stupid and hammy."
Harry, 33, spoke out last year in a BBC documentary about the pain he felt knowing the role of the paparazzi in the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a 1997 Paris car crash.
"I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying in the back seat of the car,” Harry said.