Thomas Markle became embroiled in controversy at the weekend, following reports that he staged paparazzi photographs of himself in the run-up to the wedding.
The pictures showed Thomas Markle – apparently unaware he was being photographed – in a series of wedding-related activities, including being measured for a wedding suit.
Samantha Markle, who has not spoken to her famous sibling in three years – and will not be attending the wedding – told Good Morning Britain the photographs had been done with “good intention” and not for money.
She previously admitted the pictures had been her idea, in order to portray a positive image.
On May 14, Thomas Markle reportedly told TMZ that he would not attend the wedding.
TMZ later reported that Meghan Markle’s father had and wanted to attend – although he might not be able to because of health concerns.
In a third report, TMZ said that the health issues and planned surgery would prevent him from attending after all.
Thomas Markle had been due to meet Prince Harry for the first time this week, as well as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, before walking his daughter down the aisle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Prince Harry’s future wife, Meghan Markle, will not be known as Princess Meghan when she ties the knot with him in May 2018.
By the standards of British royal protocol, the American actress lacks “royal blood”.
That means that she cannot call herself Princess Meghan.
The arcane rules mean that Meghan Markle will be compelled to follow the example of her future sister-in-law, Kate Middleton.
When Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, she automatically became Her Royal Highness, Princess William of Wales. The overwhelming likelihood is that Meghan Markle will in turn become HRH Princess Harry of Wales.
Kate Middleton was not of royal blood, and what applies to her will also apply in the case of Meghan Markle.
Royal blood meant that Queen Elizabeth’s late sister Margaret was entitled to call herself Princess Margaret. Likewise the Queen’s daughter is Princess Anne and her granddaughters are Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
Royal blood made them princesses in their own right.
Sarah Ferguson was never Princess Sarah and Sophie Rhys-Jones – the wife of Prince Edward – is not Princess Sophie.
The rules also meant that Lady Diana Spencer was never officially Princess Diana. She was the Princess of Wales and, after her divorce from Prince Charles, she was Diana, Princess of Wales.
From the point of view of Buckingham Palace, handy titles or “handles” are required for the members of the family who occupy prestigious but somewhat peripheral roles to the main business of monarchy.
Queen Elizabeth’s first cousins are, respectively, the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, and when her disgraced uncle abandoned the throne to marry an American divorcee in 1936, he became the Duke of Windsor.
Such ducal titles are frequently bestowed upon marriage precisely because they give the new entrant to the family a grand-sounding title without making them princesses or princes in their own right.
In 1986, when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, the Queen made him Duke of York, thus she became the Duchess of York – a title she continues to hold despite her divorce.
Similarly, when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones, he became the Earl of Wessex and his new wife the Countess of Wessex.
It could be that the Queen makes the same kind of move in the cases of Kate and Meghan, and dusts off a long-defunct royal dukedom – Sussex (the favorite for Harry and Meghan), Albany and Clarence are among the vacant ones.
However, as with many things connected to British royal protocol, there is always an exception to the rule – Queen Elizabeth’s husband Philip married into the royal family, and yet he is a prince.
When Philip married the then Princess Elizabeth in 1947, the then British King, George VI, created him “Duke of Edinburgh”.
He only became Prince Philip in February 1957 when the Queen “accorded him the style and title of a Prince of the United Kingdom”.
The Queen could also make both Kate and Meghan princesses in their own right – but such are the rigid traditions surrounding this issue that Britain’s first Princess Meghan is likely to be some time away.
Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May 2018, Kensington Palace has announced.
The Royal Family will pay for the wedding, including the service, music, flowers and reception – the date will be announced later.
Meghan Markle, 36, a Protestant, will be baptized into the Church of England and confirmed before the wedding.
A spokesman for Prince Harry said the pair would make sure the wedding “reflects who they are as a couple”.
Jason Knauf said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were “leading the planning process for all aspects of the wedding” and were working through ideas on how members of the public could “feel part of the celebrations”.
“This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom,” he added.
Asked by a reporter when he knew Meghan Markle “was the one”, Prince Harry said: “The very first time we met.”
Kensington Palace said Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was designed by Prince Harry and features two diamonds which belonged to his late mother Princess Diana.
At the center of the ring is a diamond from Botswana, a country the couple has spent time together over the last year and a half. The band is made from gold.
Prince Harry, 33, and Meghan Markle, 36, made their first public appearance as a couple in September at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games, a sporting event set up by the prince for injured, wounded and sick soldiers.
Their married home will be Prince Harry’s current residence, Nottingham Cottage, on the grounds of Kensington Palace – where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Prince George and Princess Charlotte, also have an apartment.