Meghan Markle's half-brother Thomas Markle Jr. is reportedly looking to put their father, Thomas Markle Sr., under a conservatorship. The elder Markle, 78, is recovering from a stroke, and the conservatorship would grant Thomas Jr., 55, oversight of Thomas Sr.'s legal and business affairs. Conservatorships are meant for this purpose, although Britney Spears' father Jamie Spears oversaw the pop star's affairs for over a decade until a judge finally ended it last fall.
The move would let Thomas Jr. represent his father in a lawsuit against British photographer Jeff Rayner, who took the controversial staged photos of Thomas Sr. before Markle married Prince Harry in May 2018. The conservatorship request was revealed in court documents in the case, reports The Sunday Mirror. Thomas Jr. told the court he was "in the process" of obtaining it. Thomas Jr. reportedly sought a conservatorship that is less far-reaching than the one Spears lived under for 13 years.
"Tom Snr has had a series of health scares and his son wants to do the best for him by taking any stress away," a source told The Mirror. "Cases in America grind on for months or years so it will be a weight off Tom Snr's mind. It will help him focus on his recovery."
Thomas Sr. is suing Rayner over a comment included in the book Revenge: Meghan, Harry, and the War Between The Windsors. The author, Tom Bower, wrote that Thomas Sr. threatened to kill the photographer. "I got screwed [by] Rayner... I want to tear him down. If they tell me I've got terminal cancer, then I'll kill him because I have nothing to lose," Thomas Sr. is quoted as saying, reports The Daily Mail.
However, Thomas Sr. denies ever saying this. He is seeking $1 million for damages caused by the photographs. Rayner has also filed for a restraining order against Thomas Sr. "Mr. Markle's hand-written court filing is so obviously frivolous that Mr. Markle and anyone else who republishes the details of Mr. Markle's court filing, will be liable to Coleman-Rayner for defamation," Rayner's company, Coleman-Rayner, said in a statement to The Daily Mail. Thomas Jr. has not commented on the conservatorship report.
Weeks before Marke and Harry's wedding, photos of Thomas Sr. walking around Rosarito, Mexico as he shopped surfaced. It was later revealed that the photos were staged and Thomas Sr. was reportedly paid over $100,000. He admitted to staging the pictures in interviews with the U.K. press. "The idea was that these would all be candid shots, discreet, no one would know they were posed or anything," he said in a Channel 5 documentary. "It would just be me doing my routine daily."
The controversy ruined Thomas Sr.'s relationship with his daughter and he did not attend the royal wedding because he suffered a heart attack. Markle has reportedly not spoken with her father since 2018. In his lawsuit against Rayner, Thomas Sr. claims the pictures caused "worldwide embarrassment."