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The days leading up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s May 19 wedding have been anything but scandal-free.
It all started earlier this week when The Mail on Sunday discovered that Thomas Markle had staged photos of himself at a café in Rosarito, Mexico. The paparazzi pictures show Thomas looking at photos of his daughter and Harry on a computer. In response to the scandal, Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle took the fall for the staged photos, admitting on the ITV talk show Loose Women on Monday that she is the one who told her father to do it.
“As we know the media can take very unflattering photographs of people on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion,” Samantha shared. “I said, ‘You know, the world has no idea you’re getting in shape, doing healthy things. They don’t photograph you buying vegetables and PH water. They photograph you as unflattering ways as they can.’ I said, ‘Really, you need to show the world that you’re getting in shape and doing great healthy things.’ So, I suggested it.”
Following Samantha’s interview, 73-year-old Thomas told TMZ the staged photos look “stupid and hammy.” He also shared with the outlet that he suffered a heart attack last week, but checked himself out of the hospital to go to the royal wedding. However, after the photo scandal, he made the decision not to attend.
On Tuesday, Thomas revealed that he’s back in the hospital, but seemingly changed his mind about going to the wedding, sharing that he wanted to attend the ceremony on Saturday. But then, just hours later, Thomas revealed that he’s set to undergo heart surgery on Wednesday morning, three days before the royal wedding.
“They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed,” Thomas told TMZ.
Alexi Lubomirski / Kensington Palace
Shortly after news broke about Thomas’ operation on Tuesday, Samantha told Sunrise Channel 7 that her father had sent her a message confirming that he will have heart surgery. Samantha added that Thomas has been under a tremendous amount of stress amidst health challenges, saying she hoped he pulls through this now and can still go to the wedding.
It was announced just over a week ago that Thomas would walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. On May 4, the Communications Secretary to Prince Harry released a statement about the ceremony, including the “important” roles that Meghan’s parents, Thomas and Doria Ragland, would play in the wedding.
“The first thing I would like to share is that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms. Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding,” the statement read. “Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland will be arriving in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry’s family, including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day.”
The statement then shared that Thomas would walk Meghan down the aisle and Doria would travel with Meghan in the car to Windsor Castle.
Watch E!’s five-hour Live From the Royal Wedding coverage Saturday, May 19 starting at 5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT for wall-to-wall coverage of Meghan and Harry’s big day! Also, catch E! News every night at 7 and 11 p.m. the week prior for everything you need to know.