MEGHAN MARKLE’s father will miss the royal wedding on Saturday as he is due to have a heart op today.
Thomas Markle, 73, told US website TMZ that doctors will ‘clear blockage, repair damage and put in a stent’ after he suffered a heart attack a week ago.
The news follows days of mixed messages over whether he would walk his daughter down the aisle after it was revealed he helped stage a series of paparazzi-style photographs.
Mr Markle claimed a letter his son Thomas Jr sent to Prince Harry last week, urging him not to marry Meghan, had triggered the heart attack.
In the letter, Meghan’s half-brother denounced the relationship as a ‘fake fairytale’ and warned the prince he would be making the ‘biggest mistake in royal wedding history’.
After deciding he would not attend the wedding, Mr Markle said he changed his mind when Meghan sent him a text on Monday saying ‘I love you’ and that she was concerned for his health, the website claimed.
‘He told us he hoped he could get out of the hospital and travel to England to walk Meghan down the aisle, but now he realises it’s all but impossible given the upcoming surgery,’ TMZ said.
Amid the confusion, bookies were taking bets on who will accompany Meghan down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday.
Betfair made her mum Doria Ragland, 61, the 6-4 favourite, but punters could get odds of 5-1 on the actress making the emotional walk alone.
Other relatives of the US star arrived in Britain yesterday — despite not being invited to the wedding in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Tracy Dooley, who used to be married to the Suits star’s half-brother Thomas Jr, was spotted at Heathrow Airport with their sons Thomas, 26, and Tyler, 25.
The family from Oregon, where 51-year-old Thomas Jr was arrested last year on suspicion of pointing a gun at his girlfriend’s head, are expected to provide coverage for a TV channel.
Meanwhile, Meghan’s half-sister was branded a ‘little vulture’ by ITV’s Piers Morgan yesterday. Samantha Markle, 53, said their father had worked with a photographer to set up the apparently off-guard pictures because it was better than ‘media vultures’ grabbing shots.
But Mr Morgan hit back on Good Morning Britain by accusing her of making a fortune through publicly criticising Meghan, 36.
‘You called her narcissistic, selfish — that Hollywood has changed her and that Prince Harry shouldn’t marry her — yet you have the gall to blame media vultures,’ he said.
‘You’ve made loads of money off the back of a tenuous link to Meghan, who you’ve spoken to once in ten years — you’ve been trashing her for two years, you little vulture.’
The presenter also pointed out that Samantha had written a book called The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.
He asked: ‘How much money have you made from trashing Meghan?’
Samantha replied it was ‘not very much’ and also insisted: ‘A book cannot be judged by its cover or title.’
Meghan’s dad, whose relationship with her has been strained at times, is said to have missed a call from her before she sent the ‘I love you’ text.
The reports of him chatting to US journalists from his hospital bed come despite Kensington Palace warning the British media to leave him alone because he is a private person.
The Palace responded to speculation over his attendance at the wedding by calling for ‘understanding and respect to be extended to him’.
■ PRINCE HARRY and Meghan Markle are set to have sunshine for their big day with temperatures predicted to reach up to 23C. They can look forward to mostly clear skies, said the Met Office. The thousands of well-wishers set to line the streets of Windsor have been advised to pack suncream. Forecaster Bonnie Diamond said ‘puffs of light, fluffy cloud’ may form but will not block the sun.