Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, says he has not heard from his daughter since his bombshell announcement that he will not attend the wedding of his daughter and Prince Harry on Saturday.
Despite reports in British papers, which are filled with accounts of frantic efforts to get him back on board, Markle himself has told TMZ—the only outlet in which he has chosen to confide—that he has not heard from Meghan.
He also said that he thinks Meghan’s mother, Doria, should walk her down the aisle.
TMZ has not, as yet, published the full transcripts of their interviews with Markle, or even many direct quotes. However, they have said the interviews are on-the-record.
Markle, who told TMZ he was pulling out of the ceremony after it was revealed he took money to collaborate with a paparazzi photographer to produce fake candid images, appeared to double down on his determination to stay away, even saying that he has experienced renewed chest pains and fears he may be on the brink of a third heart attack.
He also cast doubt on the motives of Samantha Grant, Meghan’s disabled half-sister, who had apparently sought to take the blame for the staged photos by writing on Twitter that she had encouraged her father to do them to recast his image.
Thomas tells TMZ, “I’ve been popping Valium for the pain, especially when I hear about my oldest daughter.”
The interview with TMZ casts doubt on claims in British papers that the royals are desperately reaching out to Markle and pleading with him to attend Saturday’s celebrations.
The Sun, for example, quotes a source as saying: “Meghan is devastated and wants her father to be there. They’re trying to work this out so he will come after all.”
Prince Harry is said to be blaming himself over the last-minute debacle, which caught the palace completely unaware, and left junior press officers scrambling to deal with the fallout Monday evening.
Meanwhile, more of Meghan’s estranged family members have been arriving at London airports, fueling expectations they will be appearing on TV shows as talking heads during the wedding.
Meghan's nephew Tyler and his brother, Thomas Dooley, arrived at Heathrow Airport along with their mother, Tracy Dooley, who was the wife of Meghan’s half-brother, Thomas Markle, Jr.
Meanwhile, a multitude of conspiracy theories are taking flight. One of the most disturbing comes from the Mirror columnist Susie Boniface, who writes under the pseudonym Fleet Street Fox.
She suggests palace aides—and William and Harry—are likely to have known the pictures were set-ups (“It’s easy to spot set-up pictures,” she writes, “They’re usually the ones in perfect focus,”) and may have issued the letters ordering papers not to publish them so that Tom Markle would be ‘punished’ by not getting paid.
If this is what happened, it has backfired in a massive way, as Markle’s decision to pull out of the wedding has now completely overshadowed the royals’ intricate preparations for the big day.