Meghan Markle‘s father Thomas Markle will not be walking his daughter down the aisle during her wedding this Saturday, May 19, to Prince Harry, and the reason for his absence is quite the bizarre saga.

The announcement that Thomas will not be attending the royal wedding follows the news that he had participated in a series of staged paparazzi photos. In a statement on Monday, a spokesman for Kensington Palace said, “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

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Thomas suffered a heart attack about a week ago, but he checked himself out of the hospital and was planning on attending the wedding but decided not to after the revelation of the staged photos. It is unclear if the “difficult situation” refers to the photos or the heart attack, and palace reps are not going into further details.

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The idea for the photos came from Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister. Some had suggested that the shoot was financially motivated, but Samantha explained that the actual reason was to improve her father’s public image by showing him prepare for his daughter’s big day. One picture depicted him reading a book of photos of Great Britain, while another showed him looking at an online photo gallery of Meghan and Harry.

 

Neither Samantha nor half-brother  Thomas Markle, Jr. have been invited to the wedding, as Meghan does not have much of a relationship with either of them. She will not be entirely without family, though, as her mother, Doria Ragland, is expected to be there.