LONDON (AP) -Thomas Markle spent a career in Hollywood, but nothing prepared him for this.
The father of royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle has been quoted as saying he will not attend his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday after suffering a reported heart attack amid the intense media interest around the nuptials.
The retired television cinematographer had been due to walk his daughter down the aisle Saturday at Windsor Castle's St.
George's Chapel. But celebrity news website TMZ reported Monday that the elder Markle has decided to stay away amid criticism over his decision to pose for mocked-up wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency.
Kensington Palace issued a statement calling for "understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation." The palace did not say whether wedding plans had actually changed. On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Thomas Markle said that on reflection, he did want to come, if doctors release him from a hospital where he was undergoing tests after a heart attack.
"I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," the news site quoted him as saying. Meghan Markle's half sister said their father, 73, was under an "unbelievable" amount of stress because of media intrusion.
Samantha Markle told the TV show "Good Morning Britain" that journalists "rented the house next to him in Mexico, four or five of them.
He can't open his blinds, he can't go anywhere without being followed.
Thomas Markle is not the first person to be bruised in the collision between Britain's royal family and the media - a relationship that is deep, complex and sometimes toxic.
"It is a symbiotic and parasitic relationship which is harmful to both sides," said Graham Smith of anti-monarchy group Republic, who is resolutely unaffected by royalwedding fever. "Certainly harmful to the British public in terms of the way in which we are fed this hype and nonsense ... and clearly harmful to the family."
For centuries, Britain's royal dramas played out at a distance from the public, as a deferential media protected the secrets of the monarchy. In the 1930s, the romance between King Edward VIII and divorced American Wallis Simpson was headline news in the U.S. press, but barely mentioned in Britain until the king abdicated, forced to choose between the crown and the woman he loved.
That changed by the time Prince Charles married 20-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 in a ceremony watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The media charted every twist in the saga that followed: the births of sons William and Harry, Diana's glamour and charity work, and her evident and growing unhappiness.