Say it ain’t so—those adorable photos of Meghan Markle’s reclusive father prepping for the Royal Wedding were staged, and the bride-to-be’s half-sister Samantha is taking the blame.
Thomas Markle, who is still set to walk his daughter down the aisle on Saturday, allegedly colluded with the paparazzi and then took a nice payout.
In the series of photos, Thomas can be seen reading a book about England, scrolling through photos of Harry and Meghan at an Internet café, working out, and even getting measured for a suit. The Daily Mail published a report claiming that Thomas Markle arrived at the locations with L.A.-based photographer Jeff Rayner and staged the photographs. The report also alleges that the man measuring Thomas Markle for a suit is actually an assistant at a party goods shop.
Thomas is expected to travel to London this week to meet Prince Harry’s family for the first time ahead of the wedding on Saturday, and has yet to speak out about the photo controversy. His other children, however, have had no problem putting out statements.
Thomas Markle Jr., Meghan’s half-brother, told The Mirror that his father is “deeply embarrassed” and will “apologize sincerely to Meg.” Meanwhile, his sister Samantha contradicted Thomas Jr.’s statement, saying, “my father does not speak to my brother,” and taking responsibility for the scandal.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I have to say I am entirely the culprit,” Samantha elaborated on British talk show Loose Women Monday. “As we know the media can take very unflattering photographs of people on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion. I said, you know, the world has no idea you’re getting in shape, doing healthy things. They don’t photograph you buying vegetables and PH water. They photograph you as unflattering ways as they can.”
“So I suggested it. There’s a lot of scrutiny that it was money motivated, it was not. It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are—in shape and doing healthy things.”
Samantha also doesn’t have a great relationship with her half-sister, publicly airing her discontent over not getting an invite to the royal wedding. Her memoir, originally titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, will be released sometime this year.
No matter who is telling the truth in this case, Kensington Palace can’t be thrilled.