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Meghan Markle's half-sister takes blame for father's staged photos

  • Thomas Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle in Windsor on Saturday despite paparazzi revelations
  • Samantha Markle says she encouraged her father to pose up but only 'to benefit him and the royal family' 
  • Mr Markle was photographed in an internet cafe looking at pictures of couple and was also measured for a suit
  • She said: 'My father doing staged photos is my fault. I suggested he do positive photos. It was not for money. I have no idea [if he was paid] but if he was it would have been a pittance'.
  • The Mail on Sunday revealed that the pictures, taken with his co-operation, will have netted up to £100,000 
  • Ms Markle claims she didn't go to Meghan's first wedding because her 'wheelchair would've been in the way'

By Martin Robinson, Uk Chief Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 06:44 EDT, 14 May 2018 | Updated: 12:19 EDT, 14 May 2018

Meghan Markle's half-sister said today her father 'staged' paparazzi photos on her say-so and insists it was all for the benefit of the royal family - not to rake in cash before the wedding. 

Samantha Markle has claimed it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots where he lives in Mexico - including surfing the net for pictures of the couple and apparently being measured for a suit.  

But she claims that it was all to paint him - and Harry and Meghan - in a 'positive' light before he walks his daughter down the aisle at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Saturday.

The Mail on Sunday revealed that the pictures, taken with his co-operation, will have netted up to £100,000, but Samantha insists it wasn't done for money.

She said: 'I'm entirely the culprit. I said to him to show the world "I'm getting in shape and getting healthy" so I suggested it to benefit him and the royal family'.

When asked if her father had been paid she said: 'It was not money-motivated', adding: 'I have no idea [if he was paid] but if he was it would have been a pittance. They don't pay that much.'

Samantha also revealed she last spoke to Meghan in 2015 but was struggling to understand why she and other relatives were not invited. 

She told ITV's Loose Women: 'I'm not taking it personally. We wish her well', adding her disability would have have made it hard to fly to London so she will watch on TV instead.

Ms Markle also revealed she did not see Meghan marry her first husband Trevor Engelson in 2011 and said: 'No, it was an unspoken thing. For a beach wedding in Jamaica, a wheelchair would have been in the way so I didn't make a big deal'.

Samantha Markle has claimed it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots to show him and the royal family in a positive light
Samantha Markle has claimed it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots to show him and the royal family in a positive light

Samantha Markle has claimed it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots to show him and the royal family in a positive light

Both Prince Harry and Miss Markle however, are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ¿measured¿
Both Prince Harry and Miss Markle however, are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ¿measured¿
Both Prince Harry and Miss Markle however, are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ¿measured¿
Both Prince Harry and Miss Markle however, are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ¿measured¿

Prince Harry and Miss Markle are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ‘measured’ for a suit

Samantha Markle said it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots where he lives in Mexico.
Samantha Markle said it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots where he lives in Mexico.

Samantha Markle said it was her idea for Thomas Markle to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots where he lives in Mexico.

Thomas Markle appears to have agreed to pose up for a photographer in a deal that coul dhave netted him up to $100,000, including this one in an internet cafe looking at photos of Harry and his daughter
Thomas Markle appears to have agreed to pose up for a photographer in a deal that coul dhave netted him up to $100,000, including this one in an internet cafe looking at photos of Harry and his daughter

Thomas Markle appears to have agreed to pose up for a photographer in a deal that coul dhave netted him up to $100,000, including this one in an internet cafe looking at photos of Harry and his daughter

Photographer Jeff Rayner, camera slung over his shoulder, arrives at the Omega internet cafe at 9.50am on March 27 with Thomas Markle, it emerged on Sunday
Photographer Jeff Rayner, camera slung over his shoulder, arrives at the Omega internet cafe at 9.50am on March 27 with Thomas Markle, it emerged on Sunday

Photographer Jeff Rayner, camera slung over his shoulder, arrives at the Omega internet cafe at 9.50am on March 27 with Thomas Markle, it emerged on Sunday

How Meghan's estranged half-siblings are continually causing her embarrassment

Samantha, speaking from Florida, insists that the staging of photographs was her idea
Samantha, speaking from Florida, insists that the staging of photographs was her idea

Samantha, speaking from Florida, insists that the staging of photographs was her idea

Meghan Markle's half-siblings appear intent on embarrassing their sister ahead of her big day.

Samantha Markle, who is estranged from her Suits star sibling, claimed today that she had 'no hard feelings' after not being invited to the wedding on Saturday. 

She even suggested her wheelchair meant that she had not been considered for Meghan's two wedding, although it was 'unspoken', she said.

But she has also previously called for Prince Harry to ‘man up’ and accused the Queen’s grandson of rank hypocrisy in offering ‘shout outs about humanitarianism’ while allowing ‘Meg to ignore the Markles’.

‘Someone must point out that the ‘Emperor is not wearing any clothes’,’ the 53-year-old raged. 

Her estranged half-brother Thomas Markle Jr branded her a ‘phoney Diana’ and wrote an open letter to Harry saying it's not 'too late' for him to call off the wedding.   

Meghan enjoys a good relationship with both her parents despite them separating as a child.

The actress, 36, has previously called herself a 'daddy's girl' and spoken warmly about her father Thomas, but they have had some ups and down.

Aged 18, Meghan was seen on video admitting they had fallen out.

The video was taken driving around Los Angeles and shows Meghan saying: 'We're about four minutes from my dad's house. But we aren't going to go there because my dad and I aren't on the best of terms.' 

Meghan Markle has been publicly supportive of her father, although he has yet to meet Prince Harry.

But sources claim Meghan's father has already struck up a close friendship with Prince Harry and has spoken to him regularly to discuss the couple's wedding.

Harry is also believed to have called Thomas at his home in Mexico to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage.

Meghan's mother Doria, 61, has met Harry - at last year's Invictus Games in Toronto, when he said his future mother-in-law was an 'amazing' woman.

Mr Markle is friendly with his ex-wife Doria and issued a joint statement telling of their happiness at Meghan's engagement.    

Discussing their last conversation three years ago Samantha said: 'I was concerned about my father and so I called her in Canada'.

Meghan calls her by the nickname 'Babe' and Samantha said today:  'Her last words to me were "nice to talk to you Babe, let's keep in touch".' 

Their father will still give his daughter away on Saturday – despite the paparazzi revelations.

Samantha tweeted the official Kensington Palace Twitter account and said: '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. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money'. 

Last night Kensington Palace was silent about claims that Meghan Markle’s father had secretly collaborated to stage a series of ‘faked’ photographs in the run-up to the royal wedding.

The palace refused to comment on the allegations, but it is understood there is no change to plans for Mr Markle to walk the bride down the aisle of St George’s Chapel on Saturday.

Both Prince Harry and Miss Markle however, are likely to be embarrassed by the revelations that Mr Markle secretly posed for pictures showing him being ‘measured’ for his wedding suit and browsing articles about his daughter and the Queen’s grandson in an internet cafe.

Yesterday The Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Markle, 73, an award-winning former Hollywood lighting director who now lives a reclusive life in Mexico, had worked with US-based photographer, Jeff Rayner, to set up the lucrative photo deal.

It is not known whether Mr Markle was paid for his involvement.

The disclosure came after warnings to the media from Kensington Palace about alleged harassment by photographers of both Miss Markle’s parents.

Privately there was some concern last night over Mr Markle’s ability to cope with the pressure of this week’s royal wedding.

It is understood that he has long ‘struggled’ to handle the immense global interest in his daughter’s romance. 

And he is said to be feeling ‘significant stress’ about this week’s events, which will see him travel to the UK, take tea with the Queen and meet up with Meghan’s mother, his ex-wife Doria Ragland.

Thomas Markle Junior, who shares the same father as the former actress, hit out at his sibling for failing to invite himself and other relatives to next month’s royal wedding, claiming she had turned her back on them in her quest for fame.  

Thomas Markle Junior, 51, is 15 years older than his famous half-sister and lives in Grant’s Pass, Oregon.

He is the product of his father’s first marriage to Roslyn Markle, who was married to him for seven years before he met Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

When news of her romance with the fifth in line to the throne broke in autumn 2016, Markle Junior was fiercely protective of his half-sister, whom he hasn’t seen since 2011, in the face of vitriolic attacks from their sibling Samantha.

Samantha branded Miss Markle as the ‘real princess pushy’ [a reference to the nickname given to the sometimes imperious Princess Michael of Kent, who is married to the Queen’s cousin].

She also accused her of failing to support their father who had been forced to file for bankruptcy after years as a successful Hollywood lighting director. 

Markle Junior claims - somewhat ironically, many might think, give the litany of family feuds - that his sister’s relationship with Harry has left an irrevocable rift between many of her relatives.

Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding
Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding

Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding

Thomas Markle's son (left), Thomas Jr (right), has said his father plans to apologise to Meghan Markle for the stunt that has left him and his family 'deeply embarrassed'
Thomas Markle's son (left), Thomas Jr (right), has said his father plans to apologise to Meghan Markle for the stunt that has left him and his family 'deeply embarrassed'
Thomas Markle's son (left), Thomas Jr (right), has said his father plans to apologise to Meghan Markle for the stunt that has left him and his family 'deeply embarrassed'
Thomas Markle's son (left), Thomas Jr (right), has said his father plans to apologise to Meghan Markle for the stunt that has left him and his family 'deeply embarrassed'

Thomas Markle's son (left), Thomas Jr (right), has said his father plans to apologise to Meghan Markle for the stunt that has left him and his family 'deeply embarrassed'

More damagingly, he has also accused Miss Markle, 36, of portraying a ‘false image’ of herself and trying to reinvent herself as the ‘new Princess Diana’.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said: ‘Meg likes to portray herself as a humanitarian, a people’s person and a charitable person but she is none of those things to her family.

‘She is giving the greatest performance of her life. She is acting phoney. Once she got into Hollywood she turned into a different person. She’s clearly forgotten her roots and her family.

‘There’s a whole different side to her that has started to surface and it’s ugly to see.

‘I’ve read that Meg wants to be like Diana. Diana was worshipped by everyone in the world. She was loved for the right reasons.

‘That’s what Meg wants to happen, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. She’s not genuine like Diana.’ Markle Junior, a father-of-two who was last year arrested after a domestic incident with his fiancée, which saw him accused of drunkenly pulling a gun on her, has not spoken to Miss Markle for seven years but says he still would have expected an invitation to her wedding.

He seizes on the fact that 600 guests have been invited to attend the wedding at St George’s Chapel in May 19, and a further 2,500 member of the public to watch proceedings from the Windsor Castle grounds.

‘She’s forgotten her flesh and blood,’ he told the newspaper. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on Saturday, May 19, in Windsor
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on Saturday, May 19, in Windsor

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on Saturday, May 19, in Windsor

Harry and Meghan will stay at separate £1,500-a-night hotels before the wedding with the bride-to-be at former stately home linked to the Profumo affair and Prince in a 5-star owned by the Sultan of Brunei 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend the night before their wedding at separate luxury hotels close to Windsor Castle in rooms costing up to £1,500-a-night, it was revealed today.  

Prince Harry will stay at the luxurious Coworth Park in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on Friday, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei's Dorchester hotel group.

The venue is a 15 minute drive from St George's Chapel and Prince William will also stay the night to support his brother, Kensington Palace has said, but is not known if Kate and their three children will also be there.

The duke and prince play regularly on Coworth Park's world class polo grounds, which are managed by Guards Polo Club, and last year Meghan watched her then boyfriend play on the pitch. 

Meghan will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate, with her mother Doria, where rooms including the aptly named Prince of Wales suite can cost £1,500-a-night.

Cliveden famously hosted the 1961 summer party where John Profumo would meet Christine Keeler and launch the affair that almost destroyed Harold Macmillan's Tory government. 

Its gardens still has the same outdoor pool where Christine was sunbathing when the Secretary of State for War first saw her - and it is still known as 'The Profumo Pool'.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19 in Windsor but will stay apart on the night before
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19 in Windsor but will stay apart on the night before

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19 in Windsor but will stay apart on the night before

Prince Harry will stay at the Dorchester Collection's Coworth Park in Sunningdale, Berkshire, on Friday, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei

Meghan will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate, with her mother Doria. It was owned by Lord Astor and his family until it was bought by investors in 2012

She will then make the 25 minute journey to Windsor, and her father Thomas is expected to be with her. 

The Cliveden House website describes how the hotel has hosted 'powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs' for more than 350 years.

It was built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress.

The privately owned Grade 1 listed stately home is surrounded by 376 acres of National Trust grounds

Coworth Park in Ascot describes itself as the 'scenic route to five-star bliss,' so it would appear Harry could be having a sedate night before his wedding.

The hotel's website adds: 'Coworth Park offers idyllic relaxation in many guises, from a rural detox to an indulgent, romantic escape.

'Here you'll find an experience to refresh every sense within our welcoming oasis of calm.'

The accommodation once featured in the popular TV talent show X Factor, and William and Harry are likely to know the hotel well as the royal brothers play on its polo grounds every year.

Judge Cheryl Cole, who was joined by Will.i.am from Black Eye Peas, was filmed at the 70-bed hotel when selecting the females to go through to the live finals in 2010.

The duke and prince play regularly on Coworth Park's world class polo grounds, which are managed by Guards Polo Club, and last year Meghan watched her then boyfriend play on the pitch.

Meghan will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate, with her mother Doria
Meghan will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate, with her mother Doria

Meghan will stay at Cliveden House Hotel, on the National Trust's Cliveden Estate, with her mother Doria

Cliveden proudly describes how the hotel has hosted "powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs" for more than 350 years
Cliveden proudly describes how the hotel has hosted "powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs" for more than 350 years

Cliveden proudly describes how the hotel has hosted 'powerful personalities, debaucherous parties and scandalous affairs' for more than 350 years

Its grand grounds includes the outdoor pool where Profumo met Keeler and started a brief affair that cost him his reputation and career
Its grand grounds includes the outdoor pool where Profumo met Keeler and started a brief affair that cost him his reputation and career

Its grand grounds includes the outdoor pool where Profumo met Keeler and started a brief affair that cost him his reputation and career

Cliveden House hotel in Taplow, Berkshire, can cost £445-a-night for a Club Room like this one but suites cost £1,500
Cliveden House hotel in Taplow, Berkshire, can cost £445-a-night for a Club Room like this one but suites cost £1,500

Cliveden House hotel in Taplow, Berkshire, can cost £445-a-night for a Club Room like this one but suites cost £1,500

Prince William will also stay the night to support his brother, Kensington Palace has said. It is not known if his wife and children will stay over at the hotel they often play polo at with friends
Prince William will also stay the night to support his brother, Kensington Palace has said. It is not known if his wife and children will stay over at the hotel they often play polo at with friends

Prince William will also stay the night to support his brother, Kensington Palace has said. It is not known if his wife and children will stay over at the hotel they often play polo at with friends

As Harry's love affair with Meghan emerged the prince was seen kissing her between parked cars surrounding a polo pitch
As Harry's love affair with Meghan emerged the prince was seen kissing her between parked cars surrounding a polo pitch

As Harry's love affair with Meghan emerged the prince was seen kissing her between parked cars surrounding a polo pitch

Coworth Park in Sunningdale, Berkshire, is owned by the Sultan of Brunei and is considered one the world's most luxurious hotels

Harry and his brother will enjoy sumptuously furnished bedrooms like this on the night before walking down the aisle

The Conservatory at Restaurant Coworth Park could be used by Harry, family and friends to host a private dinner on Friday
The Conservatory at Restaurant Coworth Park could be used by Harry, family and friends to host a private dinner on Friday

The Conservatory at Restaurant Coworth Park could be used by Harry, family and friends to host a private dinner on Friday

Coworth Park in Ascot describes itself as the 'scenic route to five-star bliss,' so it would appear Harry could be having a sedate night before his wedding, perhaps in its 'Barn' dining room
Coworth Park in Ascot describes itself as the 'scenic route to five-star bliss,' so it would appear Harry could be having a sedate night before his wedding, perhaps in its 'Barn' dining room

Coworth Park in Ascot describes itself as the 'scenic route to five-star bliss,' so it would appear Harry could be having a sedate night before his wedding, perhaps in its 'Barn' dining room

Today it emerged the couple will will attend a garden party marking the Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration - just days after their wedding - delaying their honeymoon.

Harry and Ms Markle will join Charles and Camilla at the event on Tuesday May 22 at Buckingham Palace.

Clarence House said: 'The event will celebrate The Prince of Wales' Patronages and Military affiliations as well as others involved in charities supported by The Prince.'

A number of cadets and emergency services personnel who were first responders after the bombing at the Manchester Arena on May 22 2017 will also attend the garden party.

It will be Harry and Ms Markle's first official engagement as a married couple. 

The couple spent their final weekend together before the big day at a hideaway cottage in the Cotswolds.

The pair hunkered down at the four-bedroom lodge, which is nestled in a wooded areas of the north Oxfordshire countryside.

Refurbishments have been made to make the leased-out love nest fit for purpose, with motion alarms and cameras set up in the surrounding area.

It is believed that Meghan, 36, is a particular fan of the secret retreat and the picturesque views the couple can see from the kitchen's large window.

A source told The Sun: 'The run-up to the wedding has been quite stressful for them and they just wanted to get away and relax before the big day.

'They like to escape to the country for the weekend and the cottage is just perfect for them.

'It's very private, has a vast open-plan kitchen and dining area for Meghan to cook in and lots of large windows for the stunning views.' 

Standing room only! Meghan and Harry’s wedding feast will NOT be a seated affair as it’s revealed trendy ‘bowl food’ will be served as guests mingle 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not have a sitdown wedding breakfast after their ceremony on Saturday – but have plumped for trendy ‘bowl food’ instead.

Their 600 guests will be standing up in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle when they are served seasonal ‘mini main courses’, made by the Queen’s kitchen staff and presented to them by liveried waiters and waitresses.

Bowl food has become a popular choice for business events because it is more sociable, allowing guests to mingle and network while eating.

However, it is a somewhat more surprising choice for a royal wedding.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not have a sitdown wedding breakfast after their ceremony on Saturday ¿ but have plumped for trendy ¿bowl food¿ instead
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not have a sitdown wedding breakfast after their ceremony on Saturday ¿ but have plumped for trendy ¿bowl food¿ instead

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not have a sitdown wedding breakfast after their ceremony on Saturday – but have plumped for trendy ‘bowl food’ instead

The Royal Kitchen at Windsor Castle has begun preparations for the wedding banquet
The Royal Kitchen at Windsor Castle has begun preparations for the wedding banquet

The Royal Kitchen at Windsor Castle has begun preparations for the wedding banquet

The Royal Palaces Pastry chef Selwyn Stoby
The Royal Palaces Pastry chef Selwyn Stoby
The Royal Palaces Head chef Mark Flanagan
The Royal Palaces Head chef Mark Flanagan

Pictured the Royal Palaces Head chef Mark Flanagan (right) and the Royal Palaces Pastry chef Selwyn Stoby (left)

Still, Harry and Meghan hope that it will make the occasion less fussy and allow them to move around the room greeting as many guests as possible.

Guests will also feast on canapes during the lunchtime reception, which will last around two and a half hours and includes speeches and cutting of the cake. Each morsel has been crafted to be consumed in just two delicate bites.

The Queen is officially hosting the event and Buckingham Palace staff revealed that the menu would comprise ‘classic dishes’ made from seasonal British produce, much from the monarch’s own estates.

Harry and his bride-to-be have tasted and selected their wedding reception menu.

The couple apparently visited Windsor Castle to sample menu suggestions in the Great Kitchen, which dates from the reign of the 14th century monarch Edward III.

It is believed to be the oldest working kitchen in the country, having served more than 30 monarchs.

Royal chef Mark Flanagan is leading the 30-strong catering team and said: ‘The day of the wedding has fallen very kindly for us.

‘All the British vegetables are just coming into season... and that’s been a point of focus for us.

'We know the couple wanted us to make sure we used all of the local seasonal produce as much as possible throughout their menu, and this recent good weather is really helping us to achieve that.’

He added the couple have ‘been involved in every detail’.

Meghan is a keen ‘foodie’ who used to run her own lifestyle website, which featured her favourite recipes and restaurants. She also shares a love of organic produce with her future father-in-law, Prince Charles.

Mr Flanagan would not discuss the dishes in detail but produce such as asparagus, peas and tomatoes are in season, providing a wealth of options for the chef, who has worked with some of the world’s best, including Michel and Albert Roux.

He added: ‘There’s no experimentation on Saturday whatsoever, tried and tested and predominantly classics.’ Over the next few days staff will start washing and peeling vegetables, so they can save time for presentation, Mr Flanagan said.

A separate dinner for 200 is being held at Frogmore House by the Prince of Wales later in the evening.

 

 

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