Thomas Markle photo controversy: Who will walk Meghan down the aisle?

Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle, ...

Posted: May 16, 2018 2:14 PM
Updated: May 16, 2018 2:14 PM

Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle, has reportedly said he will not attend his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry, prompting speculation over who will walk her down the aisle on Saturday.

It's the latest in a series of challenges for the royal couple who announced their engagement last November, and are due to tie in the knot in front of a worldwide audience at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.

From controversy over the photos to racist online abuse, here are the issues Meghan and Harry have had to deal with on their way to the aisle.

Photo fiasco

The problem of Markle's father's no-show arose Monday when he said he wouldn't be attending due to embarrassment over a series of staged photographs.

A British newspaper revealed that her father had worked with a picture agency to take photos of him preparing himself for the wedding.

Thomas Markle said he now thought the pictures were "stupid and hammy," according to a TMZ report, and that he made the decision to skip the wedding so he wouldn't embarrass the royal family or his daughter.

Markle's half-sister, Samantha, told a British TV network on Monday that she urged their father to stage the photos for the paparazzi to help improve his image.

The decision to bail out of the wedding has sparked a firestorm of interest over who will walk Markle down the aisle. Those mooted to take over his role include Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Prince Charles, Meghan's future father-in-law, may be the most obvious choice to replace her father. But Prince William has spent more time with the bride and therefore may fit the bill, adding to his job as Prince Harry's best man.

But Ragland is perhaps most likely to take on the task, given her particularly close relationship with her daughter.

Tabloid fodder

This is not the first blot on couple's weddings plans. Markle's previous relationships and marriage, and her heritage -- her mother is African American and her father is Caucasian -- have attracted the interest of the British press.

The Sun described her as a "brunette" and a "break from the mould for Prince Harry, who has previously dated a string of blondes".

But the Daily Mail went further and displayed more prejudice, playing on stereotypes of African Americans. In a story headlined "Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton," it reported Markle's mother lives in a "run-down area" in Crenshaw, Los Angeles."

It described the neighborhood as "gang-scarred" and dominated by "tatty one-storey homes."

Racist hate crimes

Markle has also had to contend with racial abuse. In February British police investigated a package reportedly addressed to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is bi-racial, as a "racist hate crime."

The Metropolitan Police said that officers tested a substance in a package received at St James's Palace, which the London Evening Standard said was a white powder. Other UK media reports said the package also contained a racist letter.

Markle has also been hounded online. Politician Paul Nehlen posted a photoshopped image of Markle with the head of Cheddar Man, whose 9,000-year-old remains indicate the dark-skinned man was an ancient Briton. Along with the image, he tweeted: "Honey does this tie make my face look pale?"

Twitter banned the Republican congressional candidate from Wisconsin for what a company representative called "repeated violations of our terms of service".

The issue of racism was also raised after Princess Michael of Kent apologized after coming under fire for wearing a controversial Blackamoor brooch to a Buckingham Palace lunch attended by Markle.

Blackamoor, a decorative style that depicts African people as exoticized figures, is widely considered offensive. Media reports showing Princess Michael wearing the brooch prompted Twitter users to label her at worst overtly racist and at best out of touch.

Public smears

The media compared Markle to Wallis Simpson, the divorced American whose relationship with King Edward VIII led to his abdication in 1936. Also widely discussed are Markle's "racy" and "fruity" scenes in Suits, her Instagram posts, her mother and the fact that she is three years older than Harry.

In November 2016, Prince Harry warned the media against harassing Markle in a rare statement issued by Kensington Palace.

"His girlfriend Meghan Markle has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public -- the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments," read the statement, which was issued by Prince Harry's communications secretary through the palace Twitter account.

Who's invited?

The couple also ran into controversy over their guest list, which did not include US President Donald Trump nor his predecessor Barack Obama.

Kensington Palace announced that the royal couple would not be inviting political leaders to the event, at least not on the basis of their official position.

There had been speculation in the UK media that British officials feared the political consequences if the couple decide to invite Barack and Michelle Obama, with whom they are friends, but not Donald Trump, who Markle has criticized as "divisive" and "misogynistic."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Columbus
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 27°
Oxford
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 28°
Starkville
Clear
27° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 27°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather