Meghan Markle's father Thomas claims photo agency deal was NOT for money but to show he's not a beer-swilling recluse

The 73-year-old was caught up in controversy after he posed for paparazzi photographs in the run-up to his daughter's big day this Saturday, with the snaps reportedly being sold to news outlets around the world for £100,000.

Prince Harry and Meghan have appealed for "understanding and respect" to be given to the American actress' father after he told TMZ that he has pulled out of the royal wedding.

The celeb website has also claimed that Mr Markle did not strike the deal with a photo agency for money but instead to re-cast his public image ahead of the big day so the public would think of him in a more positive manner.

He is reported to have been unhappy after previous pictures of him "buying beer, looking dishevelled and reclusive" has made him "look like a lush".

The beers are reported to have been intended for guards at his home, TMZ added.

What we know so far…

  • Thomas Markle announced he would not be attending the royal wedding – or walking his daughter down the aisle – after it was revealed he had helped paparazzi stage photographs of him
  • Mr Markle said he was now too embarrassed to attend his daughter's wedding on May 19
  • Thomas Markle admitted the photographs were "stupid and hammy", but that he had been trying to change his public image from that of a beer-swilling recluse
  • Despite his decision, Palace sources say the wedding will still go ahead this Saturday
  • Meghan's mum Doria Ragland is being tipped to give away her daughter instead, with Thomas Markle telling TMZ she would be a fine choice
  • Piers Morgan slammed Meghan's half-sister Samantha, saying she had been a media "vulture", after she appeared on GMB to defend her dad

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: "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."

Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle attempted to shoulder some of the blame when she earlier tweeted it was her idea for Mr Markle to pose for what she described as "positive photos" in a bid to combat his "bad" portrayal in the press, but stated it was not done for money.

"The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault.

"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."

It is now not clear who will walk Meghan down the aisle, although the 73-year-old has reportedly said he is happy for his ex-wife and Meghan's mother Doria to take on the role.

The Mail On Sunday reported the story at the weekend claiming the images were staged and published CCTV footage stills of the US actress' father in the internet cafe with a photographer.

The pictures were published earlier this month in a number of newspapers and news websites showing Mr Markle in a series of Royal Wedding related activities, apparently unaware he was being snapped.

Mr Markle was pictured being measured for what was thought to be his wedding suit, looking at screen pictures of Ms Markle and Harry while in an internet cafe, and reading a picture book about Britain while having a coffee.

TMZ first reported that Meghan's father had pulled out of the wedding.

The site stated that it had spoken to the US actress' father, saying: "He's now decided not to go because he doesn't want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter."

The statement issued by Kensington Palace indicates the concern Harry and Meghan feel for Mr Markle who is likely to be at the centre of intense media scrutiny in the coming days.

The former lighting director was due to meet the Queen with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland in the days leading up to the wedding being staged at St George's Chapel at the castle.

And at the same event he would have been introduced to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Meghan's father met her mother on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director when she was a temp in the studio. They divorced when Ms Markle was six.

Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Ms Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father and is said to be close to him.


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