Thomas Markle’s problems have now gone well beyond a silly paparazzi photo scandal. Amid news that the father of Meghan Markle won’t be traveling to England for his daughter’s royal wedding due to an embarrassing staged photo op that netted him a reported $1,500, the 73-year-old is facing a major heart surgery.
Thomas Markle told TMZ that he will go into surgery at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to repair extensive damage from a heart attack he believes was triggered due to the open letter his son, Thomas Jr., wrote to Prince Harry trying to discourage him from marrying Meghan.
“[Doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed,” the father of Prince Harry’s bride told TMZ.
Thomas Markle had a heart attack last week and began having more chest pains on Monday. TMZ reports that after undergoing a wide range of tests at the hospital earlier this week, Thomas was told he needed surgery because the heart attack did significant damage.
Markle told TMZ that he received a missed call and then texts from his daughter saying she loved him and was concerned for his health, and that he had even planned to try to get out of the hospital in time to walk her down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel this weekend. Thomas also revealed that Meghan wasn’t upset that he made a deal with a paparazzi agency to take flattering photos of himself ahead of the royal wedding.
“I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle,” Thomas told TMZ. But now, this must-needed surgery puts the kibosh on any travel plans.
While both of Meghan Markle’s parents were expected to be by her side on Saturday for the royal wedding at St. George’s Chapel, now only the bride’s mother, Doria Ragland, will represent the family.
Thomas Markle has been slammed in the media for his photo op stunt and he has been accused of “bailing” on his daughter on the most important day of her life. But based on Markle’s comments to TMZ, it sounds as though Meghan is more worried about her father than upset with him.
Kensington Palace even released a rather sympathetic statement to Entertainment Tonight regarding Thomas’ last-minute decision not to attend the wedding, urging royal wedding watchers to be respectful and understanding of Thomas Markle.
“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,” the statement read.
The royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry is scheduled to take place Saturday, May 19, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. It is highly unlikely the high-profile wedding, with more than 600 guests ready to attend and food preparation already underway, would be postponed due to Thomas Markle’s surgery.