Meghan Markle has spoken out amid the speculation surrounding her father in the days leading up to her and Prince Harry's wedding.
A statement from Ms. Meghan Markle: pic.twitter.com/TjBNarmuBU— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2018
The 36-year-old actress and princess-to-be confirmed that her father, Thomas Markle Sr., will not be attending the Royal Wedding on Saturday. She cited his health issues.
"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health," Markle said in an official statement from Kensington Palace.
"I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday," she concluded.
Markle's statement was issued Thursday afternoon, London time, just two days before she and Prince Harry say "I do" and a day after Markle Sr. underwent a successful heart surgery following a heart attack last week and more chest pains again on Monday.
TMZ reported that Markle Sr. "seemed alert and coherent" after doctors implanted stents in his blood vessels. Despite the surgery's success, he still cannot travel to Windsor Castle for the royal wedding due to recovery time.
The health scare is just the latest in a long line of dramatic turns for Markle's family leading up her marriage to Prince Henry of Wales. Several members of her extended family had lashed out at the princess-to-be ahead after not being invited to the ceremony.
Markle Sr. was expected to walk Markle down the aisle, but backed out on Monday after he was caught posing for paparazzi pictures in exchange for cash and royalties. Markle then reached out to him to her express her love and concern for him, putting him back in conversation for the ceremony.
A Kensington Palace spokeperson issued a statement to media after this incident, conveying that the couple asked for privacy on the matter.
"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," the spokesman told PEOPLE. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."
The former Suits actress' half-sister, Samantha Markle, later confessed that she had suggested that their father pose for the photos.
In another twist of family drama, Samantha Markle was hospitalized this week after an alleged encounter with paparazzi went awry.
TMZ reports that Samantha has a broken ankle and a fractured knee after the vehicle she was in struck a concrete barrier.
Samantha and her boyfriend, a man named Mark, were at a Florida tollbooth when an alleged paparazzi photographer got in front of their car to take a shot. Mark then swerved to avoid colliding with the cameraman and made contact with the barrier.0comments
Samantha struck the windshield during the crash and was shot onto the floor. Her foot was allegedly "twisted backward" as this happened.
Mark drove her to the emergency room, where she received treatment.