It appears Thomas Markle won't be going to the royal wedding after all.

Meghan Markle's father has once again pulled out of his daughter's big day, revealing that he needs to have major heart surgery on Thursday morning.

Thomas, 73, told TMZ that doctors will 'go in and clear blockage, repair damage, and put a stent where it is needed' during the operation.

He also revealed he believes his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son, Thomas Jr, wrote to Prince Harry trying to convince him not to marry Meghan.


READ MORE: • Kate Hawkesby: Meghan Markle's family is a selfish shambles

The surgery seems to be the final end to a roller coaster of speculation surrounding Thomas' attendance, just hours after it seemed Meghan had convinced her father to change his mind and walk her down the aisle.

Thomas Markle with his daughter, Meghan. Photo / Daily Mail
Thomas Markle with his daughter, Meghan. Photo / Daily Mail

Thomas astonishingly pulled out of the royal wedding on Monday, saying he didn't want to embarrass his daughter any further after the Mail on Sunday revealed he had staged paparazzi photos for money.

But on Tuesday it seemed he had backtracked on his decision after the bride-to-be pleaded with him to come to England.

The 73-year-old told TMZ that Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn't near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health.

"I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," Thomas said on Tuesday.

"Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history."

Thomas, who had a heart attack a week ago, returned to the hospital on Tuesday after having chest pains.

He said a battery of tests found that the heart attack had done "significant damage" and revealed he needed immediate surgery.

Mr Markle previously revealed that Meghan held no hard feelings against him for setting up paparazzi photos for money.

When asked what the Queen thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: "I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing."

Mr Markle said although he doesn't believe faking the "hammy" photos was that serious, he admitted it was a "stupid" decision.

He also blasted his eldest daughter Samantha Markle, who revealed she convinced Mr Markle to set up the photos.

Mr Markle said Samantha has no real relationship with Meghan, and knows nothing of her relationship with Prince Harry.

READ MORE: • Who will walk Meghan down the aisle now?

Before changing his mind, Mr Markle said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a "good choice" to give their daughter away at St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Doria is about to fly into the UK from Los Angeles to support her daughter and would be the clear favourite to walk her down the aisle if Mr Markle is not cleared by doctors to fly.

Prince Charles is 2/1 with the bookies to step in while Prince William is 5/1 to take Meghan into St George's before starting his duties as Harry's best man.

There have also been a flurry of bets on Meghan walking down the aisle alone.

On Monday night Mr Markle told TMZ Meghan's mother should be the person to do it.

Doria has been keeping a low profile over recent weeks in the run up to Saturday's nuptials, and has been photographed out and about near her home in Los Angeles

So far there has been no official announcement on who will now be walking Meghan down the aisle.

But according to TMZ, Mr Markle believes Doria, who enjoys a close relationship with her daughter, should now be the one to give her away if he can not make it.

The yoga instructor and social worker has been described by Meghan as a "free spirited clinical therapist" and she has been seen alongside Meghan at a number of public events.

Prince Harry, who has described her as "amazing", flew Doria out to Toronto to join Meghan and himself at the Invictus Games last year.

Royal experts said at the time that Harry's decision to invite Meghan's mother to join them at the closing ceremony of his Invictus Games was "hugely significant".

Doria was already expected to have an "important role" during the ceremony. It is thought she will ride with Meghan in the car to the chapel to Windsor Castle.

She is also expected to meet the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William and his wife, Kate, before the big day.

A friend of Miss Markle, 36, and her fiancé, Prince Harry, told the Mail that she was standing by her father and pleaded for understanding, saying he was "not in a good place".

The friend said: "This is not what she wants. She obviously wants her dad there. And the idea of contemplating him not being there now is not something that she wants to have to do.

"She and Prince Harry are begging for people to give him some space. They have been saying this for weeks, while trying to offer him support and help.

"He is clearly feeling under immense pressure. The concern for him is real and genuine.

"He is a proud man who wants to be a father and not be taken care of, but it's quite difficult.

"Everyone needs to pause and think what this is doing to them and, more importantly, to him. It is a really worrying, scary situation. The couple have been doing everything they can to help him."

Harry, 33, is said to be distraught and could try to get Thomas to change his mind.

The friend said: "Harry feels guilty that this has happened to someone he loves because they are in a relationship with him.

"He is devastated. He feels like this is another thing in the wake of him... the problems he causes. He feels that anyone who gets associated with his life – this is the price they have to pay.

"He wants to protect her and this is really difficult for him to swallow."

The couple issued an unprecedented official statement through Kensington Palace in the wake of the crisis.

A spokesman said: "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.

"She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation."

US gossip website TMZ claimed to have spoken "on the record" to Miss Markle's father, who confirmed he had worked with the freelance photographer to set up images of him being measured for his wedding suit and searching online for articles about his daughter.

He said he did it to "rehabilitate" his image but had been left looking "stupid and hammy" – and would not be travelling to the UK to give her away in order to spare her further embarrassment.

Kensington Palace was clearly broadsided by the claims as aides had insisted on Sunday that Mr Markle would be by his daughter's side at Windsor Castle this weekend.

TMZ further claimed that Mr Markle – a former award-winning Hollywood lighting director who lives a reclusive life in Mexico and has yet to meet his future son-in-law – confirmed he had been offered money by US-based freelance photographer Jeff Rayner.

But he insisted the "deal" was not "principally" about money. Instead, he wanted to "rehabilitate" his image after pictures had been published of him looking overweight and dishevelled.

The website wrote: 'He says since his daughter started dating Prince Harry he's been offered anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for interviews and he's turned all of them down.

'Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money – though nowhere near the reported $100,000 – and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image.

"He admits the pics look 'stupid and hammy'.

"He says he was just going along with the paparazzi agency, which he now deeply regrets."

The website continued: 'Meghan's father will not be walking her down the aisle on Saturday... he isn't going to the wedding at all because of the fallout over selling photos of himself.'

Mr Markle also told the website that he had suffered a heart attack six days ago but checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend the wedding.

There was no independent confirmation that Mr Markle had been ill, however.

Indeed, last week he was seen leaving his home in the beachside community of Rosarito, Mexico, and driving to San Diego, just over the US border.

According to reports, he stopped for a few hours' sleep and then carried onto LA where he was photographed putting a pot of flowers on the doorstep of his ex-wife, Doria Ragland – Miss Markle's mother.

To add to the confusion, Mr Markle's daughter - Meghan's estranged half-sister Samantha - claimed that she was "the culprit" behind the humiliating photograph debacle.

In a bizarre intervention, Samantha said she had advised her father to co-operate with the photographer to show himself – and, strangely, the Royal Family – in a "positive" light.

She also insisted his motive hadn't been money.

One source told the Mail that Mr Markle was "very unwell", adding: "He is under significant stress.

"There is genuine concern about his safety. His health and safety are paramount [to Meghan]. He is under a huge amount of pressure."

If Miss Markle's father is not at the wedding, it is believed Miss Ragland will walk her down the aisle.