They didn't see it coming.
Following Thomas Markle Sr.'s decision to sit out daughter Meghan Markle's wedding in the midst of a health crisis and his feelings of deep embarrassment over his staged paparazzi photos scandal, it has emerged that Prince Harry, Meghan and the palace were "blindsided" by his cancelation, TMZ reports.
The palace, TMZ explains, had made "elaborate plans" for Thomas's visit to Britain this week, which would have included a security detail as well as accommodations and access to various events. The palace had previously announced that Meghan's dad would be meeting Prince Harry's family, including the queen. And it's widely believed he'd be meeting his future son-in-law for the first time in person too.
Further, Britain's Express reports that Queen Elizabeth II, husband Prince Philip and the Lord Chamberlain's Office are livid about Thomas's decision to pose for the photos, which even he admitted to TMZ looked "stupid and hammy."
"Lord Chamberlain, Her Majesty and the Duke are very angry with Meghan's father," a source told the Express, adding that the royals are "worried" about Thomas's behavior. The outlet also claims that Kensington Palace staffers are meeting on May 15 with the queen's communications office to discuss Thomas's actions.
Meghan, meanwhile, is heartbroken. "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," a palace spokesman told media including People magazine on May 14 following Thomas's revelations hours earlier that he'd had a heart attack six days ago and was ashamed that he'd intentionally posed for wedding-prep photos taken by paparazzi photographers in Mexico.
"She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation," the spokesman added.
Thomas told TMZ late on May 14 that he had not heard from his daughter since he told TMZ he would not attend her wedding or give her away.
Now the world is wondering who will walk Meghan down the aisle when she weds Harry on May 19 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
According to TMZ and other outlets, her mom, therapist and yoga instructor Doria Ragland, is the frontrunner. Thomas himself told TMZ he thinks his ex-wife is the best candidate to accompany Meghan down the aisle when an estimated 1 billion people tune in.
According to The Daily Mail and MailOnline, though Doria -- who's already set to accompany her daughter on her car ride to the church -- is the clear favorite, bookies have also put odds on members of the royal family -- and on Meghan herself.
"Prince Charles is 2/1 with the bookies to step in while Prince William is 5/1 to take Meghan into St. George's before starting his duties as Harry's best man," the outlets wrote, adding, "There have also been a flurry of bets on Meghan walking down the aisle alone."
Late in the day on May 14, TMZ reported that Thomas had told them he was again having serious chest pains and was planning to head back to the hospital that night. He claimed the pains were "triggered by emotional upset," TMZ wrote. "I've been popping Valium for the pain, especially when I hear about my oldest daughter," Thomas told TMZ.
Thomas's oldest daughter, Samantha Grant -- Meghan's half-sister -- has long been publicly critical of her sibling. In April, Samantha delivered an epic Twitter rant about "respect" and her family's lack of wedding invites.
In recent days, Samantha made headlines again when she claimed that the staged photos Thomas posed for were her idea. "The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault. The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money @KensingtonRoyal," she tweeted.
She also spoke to Britain's "Loose Women" talk show about it as well as the Daily Star Online, telling them the photo drama "was really my fault. [The media] were beating my dad up, insulting him and I wanted him to look healthy and positive because he was really excited about walking my sister down the aisle. So I suggested that he look healthy and it would make the royal family look better as well as himself. I only meant to help because the media can be so cruel."
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