Meghan Markle texted her beleaguered father ‘I love you’ as the bride-to-be desperately tries to get him on a plane for her wedding.
Kensington Palace was in crisis mode as Thomas Markle pulled out of attending his daughter’s wedding after saying he suffered a heart attack.
The 73-year-old was spotted two days after being admitted to hospital purchasing two Happy Meals and KFC.
But he today U-turned, saying he had changed his mind after the Mail on Sunday last week revealed he staged paparazzi photos for money.
Meghan Markle’s father has today changed his mind and said he does now want to attend her wedding to Prince Harry – if doctors will allow him to fly to England
Meghan Markle pleaded with her father Thomas Markle (together right) to walk her down the aisle after he pulled out of her wedding to Prince Harry
Before changing his mind, Mr Markle said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a ‘good choice’ to give their daughter away at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Pictured: Doria pictured with her daughter in March 2015
He revealed that Meghan sent him an emotional text message in which she said told him she love him and was concerned for his health.
Mr Markle told TMZ that Meghan harbours no ill feelings toward him making a deal with a paparazzi agency to stage photos of him preparing for a wedding.
One shot appeared to show him being fitted for a suit while another was set up to look as if he was browsing a news story about Meghan and Prince Harry.
The deal was exposed after CCTV footage emerged showing Mr Markle posing for pictures with the paparazzo.
He said he no longer wanted to attend the wedding because he did ‘not want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter’, according to TMZ.
When asked what the Queen thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: ‘I don’t think the Queen is thinking about what I’m doing.’
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: ‘This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.
Thomas Markle admitted to staging paparazzi photos (pictured) with an agency for money
Thomas is seen on surveillance video entering an internet cafe with photographer Jeff Rayner to set up staged photos
Two days after his heart attack, Thomas was seen at a McDonald’s drive-thru where he purchased two Happy Meals and a milkshake
Thomas then went to a KFC hours after he stopped by McDonald’s on Thursday (above)
Mr Markle said that he did not want to embarrass his daughter or the royal family (Meghan and her father circa 2000)
‘She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.’
But he today changed his mind saying he does want to attend — if doctors allow him to fly to England.
Mr Markle said: ‘I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle.
‘Of course I’d walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I’d like to be a part of history.’
He also revealed he was back in hospital with chest pains, and doctors were performing a number of tests on him.
Doctors are said to have told him his heart was ‘seriously damaged’ after suffering a heart attack a week ago.
Mr Markle said he has been pleading with doctors to release him from hospital by Wednesday, but doesn’t know if they will clear him in time.
He also criticised his eldest daughter Samantha, who revealed she was the one to convince her father to set up the staged photographs.
Mr Markle said Samantha has no real relationship with Meghan and knows nothing of her relationship with Prince Harry.
He had suggested that his ex-wife Doria Ragland as a ‘good choice’ to give their daughter away at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Mr Markle said Samantha has no real relationship with Meghan and knows nothing of her relationship with Prince Harry. Pictured: Mr Markle with Meghan during her teenage years
The 73-year-old said Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn’t near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health. Pictured: The father and daughter in her teenage years
Doria, (left, with her daughter) has been keeping a low profile ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding (the couple, pictured right)
Ms Ragland is set to fly into Britain from Los Angeles and would be the clear favourite to walk her down the aisle if Mr Markle was not able to attend.
Samantha, Meghan’s half-sister, sad today: ‘I spoke to him early this morning and he was quite depressed.’
However, there has been no official announcement on who will be walking Meghan down the aisle.
A friend of Miss Markle, 36, and her fiancé, Prince Harry, told the Mail that she was standing by her father and pleaded for understanding, saying he was ‘not in a good place’.
The friend said: ‘This is not what she wants. She obviously wants her dad there. And the idea of contemplating him not being there now is not something that she wants to have to do.
‘She and Prince Harry are begging for people to give him some space. They have been saying this for weeks, while trying to offer him support and help.
‘He is clearly feeling under immense pressure. The concern for him is real and genuine.
‘He is a proud man who wants to be a father and not be taken care of, but it’s quite difficult.
‘Everyone needs to pause and think what this is doing to them and, more importantly, to him. It is a really worrying, scary situation. The couple have been doing everything they can to help him.’
Harry, 33, is said to be distraught and could try to get Thomas to change his mind.
The friend said: ‘Harry feels guilty that this has happened to someone he loves because they are in a relationship with him.
‘He is devastated. He feels like this is another thing in the wake of him… the problems he causes. He feels that anyone who gets associated with his life – this is the price they have to pay.
‘He wants to protect her and this is really difficult for him to swallow.’