Meghan Markle confirms her father will not attend the royal wedding

Meghan Markle is breaking her silence just ahead of the royal wedding.

On Thursday, May 17, 2018, the former Suits actress confirmed that her father, Thomas Markle, will not be walking her down the aisle this weekend when she marries Prince Harry.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," she released in a statement via Kensington Palace's Twitter account. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

Meghan added, "I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Thomas underwent heart surgery on Wednesday, May 16, after experiencing chest pains. "They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed," he told TMZ a day before. The 73-year-old, who'd suffered a heart attack a week earlier, had initially checked himself out of the hospital with plans to attend his daughter's nuptials. 

However, prior to opening up about his health problems, Thomas made headlines over the weekend when he was caught selling staged photos of himself preparing for the big day to the paparazzi. Amid the scandal, he revealed that he wouldn't be attending the royal affair so as to avoid embarrassing Meghan and the royal family any further. But he later backtracked on this, telling TMZ, "Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history." 

Meghan's half-sister, Samantha, has since taken responsibility for the controversy, reportedly tweeting from her private account, "The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault. The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family" (via the Daily Mail).

"This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," a spokesperson for the palace stated earlier this week (via Page Six). "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and for respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."

Meghan, 36, and Prince Harry, 33, will marry at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The couple, who have been together since the fall of 2016, announced their engagement last November.