As Kensington Palace confirm Meghan Markle's father Thomas Markle will no longer be attending his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry this weekend, Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle is shedding new light on the staged paparazzi photo scandal that has embroiled their father.
In the lead up to the Royal Wedding, retired lighting director Thomas had been photographed browsing pictures of his daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law Prince Harry in an internet cafe, reading up on British landmarks, lifting weights to get in shape for the wedding, and being fitted for a suit for the big day.
But surveillance footage obtained by Britain's Daily Mail alleges to show the photos were set up.
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And now, Samantha claims the whole mess is her fault.
"I have to say I am entirely the culprit," Samantha explained during an interview on British talkshow Loose Women.
"As we know the media can take very unflattering photographs of people on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion. I said, you know, the world has no idea you're getting in shape, doing healthy things. They don't photograph you buying vegetables and PH water. They photograph you as unflattering ways as they can," Samantha, who is not invited to the wedding, claimed.
"So I said, really you need to show the world that you're getting in shape and doing great healthy things. "
"So I suggested it. There's a lot of scrutiny that it was money motivated, it was not. It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are – in shape and doing healthy things."
Meghan's half-sister, who has repeatedly hit out at her sibling and Prince Harry in the months leading up to the Royal Wedding, insisted the deal with LA based picture agency Coleman-Rayner was a way for Thomas to regain control of the media interest in him.
"Let me clarify, he's 73, which makes him a bit more fragile," she revealed.
"He's a quiet man. I feel that the media have unfairly preyed on him. He's really been admirable about laying low and not speaking out, with all due respect. I merely wanted him to be seen in a respectable light. I didn't feel that was being done so I suggested that the photographers show him as he is, doing positive things and that was never addressed."
In another shocking allegation 53-year-old Samantha, who is wheel-chair bound after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008, claimed she wasn't invited to Meghan's first wedding to producer Trevor Engleson because of her wheelchair.
"No [I wasn't invited], it was an unspoken thing," she told the show.
"For a beach wedding in Jamaica, a wheelchair would have been in the way so I didn't make a big deal."
The mother-of-three says the last time she spoke to Meghan was in 2015.
"I was concerned about my father and I called her in Canada. Her last words were 'nice to talk to you babe, let's keep in touch.'"
On Monday, TMZ reported that Thomas Markle had pulled out of the important day in the aftermath of the staged paparazzi photos and because he had suffered a heart attack six days ago.
Kensington Palace have since issued a statement asking for "understanding" but did not confirm if the TMZ report was true.
"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding," the statement said.
"She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation."
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Now To LoveJan 17, 2020