Years from now no one will care that Thomas Markle colluded with a photographer. Whether it was for money or because he wanted more flattering images of himself does not matter.
What matters is that he’s ditching his beloved daughter at the aisle.
In a pre-wedding week which is stressful for most brides let alone one who has the world’s eyes upon her, Meghan Markle has reportedly been left devastated by her father’s decision not to accompany her on the most important day of her life.
He told a news agency he didn’t want to embarrass her any further. He also claims to have suffered a heart attack six days ago.
Illness aside, Thomas Markle needs to spend the next 48 hours thinking very deeply about the impact his choices will have on his daughter.
Meghan has only ever spoken highly of her father. He was pivotal in her life and since news broke of her relationship with Prince Harry, her father has maintained his dignity. He’s said to be a recluse and is unused to being thrust into the limelight. The fact that he came to an agreement with a photographer is ill-judged, unfortunate and arguably greedy but it’s not life-changing.
What is life-changing is being deserted by your dad when you need his support more than ever. If Thomas fails to make it to St George’s Chapel, his relationship with his daughter will never recover.
In my view, the solution lies with his former wife, Doria Ragland. By all accounts she’s an insightful woman and the statement she and Thomas released after Meghan’s engagement suggests they still have regard for one another. If anyone can convince him to put aside his humiliation surely, it’s her.
“You must do it,” she needs to tell him. “For Meghan’s sake.”
Kensington Palace’s carefully worded statement has left the door open if he changes his mind. But they will need to make a final announcement before the big day to ensure the press is not left hanging and the issue does not overshadow the reporting of the day. Obviously, the final decision will also depend on Thomas’s health.
If Doria does end up walking her daughter down the aisle it will doubtless be lovely all the same. But we know Meghan wants her dad. She chose him. Now it’s time for him to choose her over himself.