At the heart of the sorry mess that’s unfolded around the royal wedding is one person who will be affected most personally: Meghan Markle.
It seems unlikely right now that she will have – as any bride might expect – her father by her side as she walks down the aisle for her marriage ceremony on Saturday.
I wouldn’t rule it out completely but given the developments overnight with Thomas Markle – and those photographs – his attendance at St George’s Chapel is looking very uncertain.
He has reportedly said he wants to walk his daughter down the aisle, but is currently in hospital where he is undergoing tests after complaining of serious chest pain.
So who to blame for what’s happened?
At the very least, it would appear Mr Markle has been naive.
In collaborating with a freelance photographer he was hoping to take back some control after other stories had claimed he was a ‘loner’ and a ‘recluse’ who was going to find it difficult to mix with the Royal Family at the wedding.
But it turns out the series of photographs of him ‘reading’ a guide book to Britain, or being ‘measured up’ for a suit at a tailors, or ‘working out’ on the beach were staged.
Mr Markle hasn’t confirmed or denied whether he was paid for the pictures - but CCTV cameras appear to show him working alongside a photographer. The mistake then appears to be his.
But is the media intrusion into his life justified?
Newspapers this morning have given a blow by blow account of his movements: what he ate at a fast food place, where he drove in his car one afternoon, whether or not he left home on this day or that.
It struck me, that a line may have been crossed.
Mr Markle’s daughter, Samantha – Meghan’s half-sister – told Good Morning Britain today that he had recently called her in distress from a motorway with eight cars following him.
She blames the stress of that on a health scare – it’s unclear if Mr Markle had a heart attack as has been reported, or suffered palpitations – but his daughter insists the whole episode has affected his health.
Samantha Markle nodded to the death of Prince Harry’s mum, Diana, when she referred to what had happened in the past with the paparazzi.
The wedding is four days away, and whoever is to blame for this saga, it’s a deeply personal matter for Meghan Markle which Kensington Palace itself admits was a ‘difficult situation.’
Tough for any bride.
But much tougher for one who knows millions of people will be watching her walk down the aisle – with or without her father – in front of the Queen on Saturday.
- Special coverage of Harry and Meghan – The Royal Wedding will be broadcast on ITV from 9.25am on Saturday 19th May.
- For more on the wedding and other stories on the Royal Family, follow the ITV News Royals page on Facebook.