Royal Family Flubs Wedding Etiquette With Meghan Markle's Father

The British Royal Family may have contributed to the fiasco surrounding Meghan Markle's father Thomas Markle Sr. by not sending a member of the household to meet him before Markle marries Prince Harry.

The family is not used to commoners marrying into royalty, leading British etiquette expert William Hanson told Page Six, which may explain some of the mistakes leading up to Saturday's big day. Markle will also have to learn about how to behave in the presence of the family from Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was also a commoner before marrying Prince William.

"The royal household should have sent someone out to talk to Mr. Markle immediately and others in Meghan's family. But that didn't happen — and it has blown up in their faces," Hanson told Page Six. "When Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, married Prince William, the Middleton family were much more attuned to their position, what they had to do and what was expected of them."

Hanson continued, "Prior to royalty marrying commoners, they married other royals, whether British or European, or aristocrats. These unions were often loveless and didn't do too particularly well, but you know what to do and how to behave — it's part of their breeding."

Hanson, who offers courses in etiquette through his website, said the British Royal Family should be held to "higher standards" than American celebrities. Markle will need Catherine's help in understanding how things are done, because the Royal Family does not offer crash courses in royal etiquette and protocol.

"Meghan is very independent, very headstrong and I would hope she would not be too headstrong or stubborn to accept or listen to this advice," Hanson told Page Six. "I hope that she does listen to her new relatives, as well as Harry and members of 'blood royalty.'"

The royal misstep in handling Thomas Sr. comes during a whirlwind week for the family. On Sunday, The Daily Mail reported that Thomas Sr. was caught staging paparazzi photos, which Markle's half-sister Samantha Markle took the blame for. Then, Thomas Sr. suffered a heart attack and needed heart surgery, making it impossible for him to attend the wedding in the U.K.

Earlier Thursday, Markle confirmed the news in an official statement from Kensington Palace.

"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. "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."

Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, is attending the wedding.


Photo credit: Facebook/ The Royal Family