By now we all have heard about the real-life soap opera surrounding the question of Meghan Markle’s father and whether or not he will attend his daughter’s wedding. For the better part of a week, Meghan and the rest of us have been riding a veritable roller coaster of emotions due to the ever-changing nature of the decision. Now, we're learning of a truly devious plot to make the family look bad, and the truth paints a very unflattering picture of the Press, especially in Britain.
First, it was believed that Thomas Markle, 73, would travel to London to share the big day with Meghan and walk her down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel at noon on Saturday.
Then, the story broke about the supposedly ‘staged’ photo shoot in which Mr. Markle appeared to be candidly preparing for the wedding: being fitted for his wedding suit, reading up on Britain, working out, and watching news about Prince Harry and Meghan on the internet.
Then we learned that the photos weren’t all that candid. Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Grant, made the talk show circuit, taking credit (or blame) for the entire event. She admitted that she and her father had arranged the photo-op for the sole purpose of improving public opinion about Meghan’s dad ahead of the May 19th nuptials.
Both parties confess that it was an ill-conceived plot and Mr. Markle, at least, regrets having done it. In fact, he was so remorseful that he told his daughter that he would skip the whole wedding to save her - and the entire Royal Family - further embarrassment resulting from his “stupid and hammy” behavior.
But that wasn’t the end. Not at all. Sources report that Meghan contacted her father to urge him to reconsider and that she cares about him and really wants him there, by her side, as she takes the long walk to meet her Prince. Mr. Markle then announced that he would attend, after all, thanks to his daughter’s reassuring phone call. Everything seemed settled and plans moved ahead to get everyone where they needed to be for the big day.
Then, the completely unexpected happened: Mr. Markle, who had suffered a heart attack the previous week, due to (according to Markle) the stress, shame, and anxiety he experienced over the photo debacle. The heart attack seemed, at the time, to be relatively minor and he was discharged from the hospital once his health appeared to be stable. At last, everything seemed in place and as it should be, less than one week before the ceremony.
Meghan and Harry were on cloud nine, knowing that all the important players would be present and accounted for on their joyful day. Then, the unthinkable happened. Mr. Markle began suffering severe chest pains on Tuesday and was admitted to the hospital for tests.
Doctors discovered that the cardiac incident Thomas Markle had suffered earlier caused significant damage to his heart and he would need immediate surgery to correct the life-threatening blockage that was causing his symptoms. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning and, with that, the final nail in the coffin was hammered in, so to speak.
Doctors prohibited the bride’s father from making the nearly 6,000-mile journey to London and, although Meghan and Harry held out hope that a miracle would happen and he would be able to attend, the bride released an official statement on Thursday declaring that it would not be the case. The bride would have to make alternate plans for the walk down the aisle.
That brings us today and, if you're anything like me, you are sensing something fishy with the intensity of the media scrutiny on this story. It seems very uncharacteristic of the Royal Family to have allowed this level of media attention to affect the immediate family of the woman who is soon to be a member of Royalty.
In addition, the light in which the Markle family has been portrayed has been anything but flattering. Now, people are speaking out and accusing the British media of vilifying the Markles for one simple reason and it is quite shameful. It’s all because he’s an American!
CNN analysts have concluded that, if the family of the bride were of British nobility and were having similar difficulties, all the stops would have been pulled out to spare the players of any negative press. After all, it would also reflect badly on the Royals. But, in the case of Thomas Markle, he was apparently deemed ‘expendable’ and fair game for excoriation in the press.
Jane Merrick of CNN reports, “And there is a staggering double standard at the heart of this story: the treatment of Mr. Markle by the media compared to others who have found themselves thrust into the royal spotlight.” Thomas Markle, Sr. has been portrayed as a money-grubbing commoner who was willing to sell access to the Royal Family in exchange for a lucrative payout.
She goes on to say that Mr. Markle’s treatment stands in sharp contrast to that of Kate Middleton’s family, who were able to use their connections the Royal Family to parlay their party-planning business into a multi-million dollar venture. Yet, they have not been treated anything close to the way the Markle family has.
Ms. Merrick continues, “But the tone of the criticism aimed at Mr. Markle -- at least in Britain -- has had a particularly vicious undertone. Why?"
Merrick claims that “the main difference between the Middletons…on the one hand, and Mr. Markle on the other - apart from the latter's relative lack of media savviness - is that the bride-to-be's father is American.” That’s right.
“What seems acceptable behavior from upper-middle-class Brits whose astuteness in playing up to their royal connections hides their vulgarity, is somehow deemed out of bounds for a shy, reclusive American with financial problems.
“It is not that Mr. Markle is working class, but the public shaming of him over the paparazzi story reeks of classism and British snobbery. And because of that public shaming, a father might not get to walk his daughter down the aisle.”
If true, that’s quite an indictment of the elite separationism and overt superiority that the Royals seem to pride themselves on. Yet, they are welcoming an American into the fold, so it seems appropriate that they reconsider these attitudes.
Otherwise, Prince Harry and Meghan’s marriage is destined to be a nearly impossible undertaking. We’re hoping that the Palace wises up and extends their protection to Meghan’s family in America - before it’s too late!