World News

Meghan Markle's half-sister says father had heart attack

Posted May 15, 2018 10:27 a.m. EDT

— Meghan Markle's half-sister has said their father "suffered a heart attack" in an interview with a British television station a day after reports emerged that Thomas Markle may not attend the royal wedding on Saturday.

Samantha Markle -- who has reportedly not spoken to her sister for several years -- did not specify the timing of her father's heart attack, but told the Good Morning Britain program that her father was "quite depressed over the unbelievable series of events involving the media."

She reiterated in the interview that she was very concerned for his health, but said she did not want their father to miss out on the big day.

"I wanted to see him go. I didn't want him deprive of that. But clearly the propriety should be whether or not it is safe for him to do that," Markle added.

CNN understands that both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are very concerned about the pressure Thomas Markle is under and are keen for the media to give him space.

Meghan Markle is understood to be upset about the photos being staged, but is very close to her father and still wants him to walk her down the aisle on Saturday.

Thomas Markle apparently confirmed on Monday he would no longer be walking his daughter down the aisle after he allegedly staged a series of photos captured by an American paparazzi photographer.

Markle reportedly told American publication TMZ he was going to skip the highly-anticipated wedding so as not to cause embarrassment to the royal family or his daughter.

CNN has reached out to Thomas Markle for comment by phone and over email but has not yet received a response.

In an unusual move, Kensington Palace issued a statement on Monday night, describing the situation as a "deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before the wedding."

A Kensington Palace spokesman added that "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation."