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Dad out of royal wedding

Meghan Markle's father has reportedly decided against attending the royal wedding on Saturday following the uproar over his staged paparazzi photos.

Thomas Markle Sr. had been due to walk his daughter down the aisle for her wedding to Prince Harry at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, England, but he tells TMZ.com he has now cancelled the trip to avoid further embarrassment to the royal family.

The father of the bride has been blasted in the British tabloids after it emerged candid photos of Thomas preparing for the former actress' big day had actually been prearranged, with Los Angeles-based photographer Jeff Rayner hired to snap images of Thomas looking at news reports about Meghan's upcoming nuptials, working out, and getting fitted for a suit for the high-profile ceremony.

The pictures were then sold to news agencies worldwide, and Meghan's estranged half-sister, Samantha, has since claimed it was her idea to set up the photo opportunity in a bid to portray her dad in a more positive light in the press after the publication of unflattering shots in recent months.

Now Thomas has apparently decided to stay away from the royal wedding altogether.

According to TMZ, he insists he meant no harm to his daughter or her future in-laws by making a deal with the paparazzi, although he now regrets the move, and accepts the photos look "stupid and hammy (exaggerated)".

He also claims the decision to skip Meghan and Harry's nuptials is partly due to health reasons, after reportedly suffering a heart attack on 8 May. Thomas explains he discharged himself from the hospital so he could fly to the U.K., but he no longer thinks the long journey is a good idea.

Representatives for the royal family have yet to comment on the news.



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