Meghan Markle's Dad 'Never Intended to Steal the Spotlight' From His Daughter (Exclusive)

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Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle, will no longer be attending the royal wedding, and a source tells ET that the retired lighting director didn't anticipate the intense level of attention on him just days before his daughter's nuptials to Prince Harry.

"Thomas Markle enjoys his low key life in Mexico and he never intended or wanted to be thrust into the media spotlight," the source tells ET. "He's a quiet, humble man. He lives a comfortable life in Mexico and he loves it there."

"He never intended to steal the spotlight away from Meghan and Harry," the source adds. "He did not see this getting to this kind of level."

On Thursday, Meghan announced that Thomas will no longer walk her down the aisle as planned. "Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," she said in a statement. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

The announcement comes after Thomas told TMZ on Tuesday that he wouldn't be able to go to his daughter's wedding because he had to get stents implanted in his blood vessels after suffering a heart attack last week. Previously, he had said he wanted to attend the wedding after initially saying he would no longer attend due to a photo scandal in which The Daily Mail reported that he was staging photos for the paparazzi.

The source notes that the scandal has negatively affected Thomas' well-being.

"Emotionally, this has been a very hard time for him," the source says. "It's a real burden on him. He adores Meghan. He loves her. Meghan has always had his love and respect. He's beyond proud for her."

Meanwhile, a royal source tells ET that Kensington Palace has offered support to Thomas since the day Harry and Meghan got engaged so that he may deal with the onslaught of media attention, but he continues to communicate about his medical condition via TMZ.

Still, according to the source, Meghan and Harry have been in communication with Thomas throughout the ordeal. 

"Meghan has been told by her father [that] he has been unable to travel due to medical advice from his doctors," the source says. "Meghan and Harry have been in touch with him over the last several days." 

The source adds that Meghan is receiving love and support from her friends during this difficult time.

On Wednesday, a source told ET that Harry is feeling "very protective" over his fiancee and is making her his number one concern.

"Harry loves Meghan and has felt very protective of how she and her family have been portrayed throughout their engagement," the source said. "He feels much of the coverage of her family has been very hurtful."

"While he feels like speaking publicly about it, he doesn't want to make waves before the ceremony," the source added. "He realizes he needs to refrain from the negative at the moment and focus on his love for Meghan and their special day." 

ET spoke to royal expert Katie Nicholl in London on Tuesday, and she said that the royal family would definitely not be pleased with the scandal.

"We don't like surprises like this. Royal weddings work like clockwork," Nicholl noted. "They're planned down to the final minutia, so everything that's unsettled those plans will not go down well with Her Majesty, the boss over there at Buckingham Palace."

Watch the video below for more on how the royal family is dealing with the photo scandal, and keep up with all of ET's coverage of the royal wedding right here as we count down to May 19.


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