British royal wedding thrown into confusion by bride’s father

This weekend’s carefully planned wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry to his fiancee Meghan Markle was mired in confusion after the father of the American actress told a celebrity news website he was no longer coming.

Harry, 33, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and the sixth-in-line to the British throne, and Markle, 36, will marry on Saturday at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Markle’s father Thomas, 73, was due to walk his daughter down the aisle in front of 600 guests including all the senior Britain’s royals and a smattering of celebrities.

However, the TMZ website reported on Monday that he had decided not to attend the glittering wedding at the castle, the home of English and British monarchs for almost 1,000 years.

He told TMZ he did not want to embarrass his daughter or the royal family after reports he had staged pictures with a paparazzi photographer for a fee. He also said he had suffered a heart attack a week ago.

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding,” Kensington Palace, Harry’s office, said in a statement. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”

A spokeswoman for the prince declined to comment directly on the TMZ report or to say whether Markle’s father would be at the wedding.