The father of the royal bride Meghan Markle is set to give his daughter away this week at Windsor Castle.
As Dearly previously reported, last week pictures surfaced of Thomas Markle reading about his daughter and husband-to-be on the internet.
CAN HE LIVE??? “Meghan Markle’s father has been spotted reading stories about the Royal Wedding in an internet cafe – just 10 days before he will walk his daughter down the aisle in the wedding of the year.” https://t.co/NA0Yvz9y8H
— Angela (@Angelasoldonuts) May 9, 2018
However, as it turns out, the photos were staged for paparazzi.
According to the Daily Mail, witnesses said Thomas, 73, worked with well-known celebrity photographer Jeff Rayner to plan out scenes for photos that later went viral.
He was shot reading a magazine about British culture, researching the royal couple in an internet cafe, and supposedly getting measured for his wedding suit.
Photographers have been following Thomas Markle Sr. around non-stop, and the pictures are perfect https://t.co/2Y2wLxLf7p
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) May 12, 2018
Witnesses reported seeing Thomas and the photographer show up together for the staged photo op.
The Daily Mail reports that the internet cafe manager, Jessica Anaya, said:
“They didn’t stay long, probably about 10 minutes, and they left together.”
Rayner reportedly earned $135,000 from the “fake photos,” however it’s unclear whether Thomas or his family profited from the opportunity.
Meghan Markle’s half-sister Samantha took to Twitter to defend her father, according to the Daily Mail.
Samantha said she’s to blame for the staged paparazzi pictures. She wrote:
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.
Samantha told the Daily Mail:
“I’m entirely the culprit. I said to him to show the world ‘I’m getting in shape and getting healthy’ so I suggested it.”
She added that it wasn’t done for the money:
“It was not money-motivated. I have no idea [if he was paid] but if he was it would have been a pittance.”
She said she didn’t mean any harm, she just wanted people to see her father, sister, and Prince Harry in a “positive light.”
Kensington Palace has not commented on the photographs. However, according to Page Six, the palace issued a letter to British and international media asking paparazzi to give Thomas privacy.