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Everything was going along so swimmingly, right? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were doing their thing, minding their own business, making appearances together, preparing for their wedding. Sure, there were some hiccups with her half-sibs spewing all kinds of garbage but woodwork family aside, it was an exciting time.

Then the weekend happened. And Meghan’s dad, Thomas Markle, was outed as some sort of paparazzo co-conspirator, apparently trying to make a few bucks–notably with the photo that has since become a meme– before he headed to England to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Then things got even worse when he backed out of the wedding entirely, claiming he didn’t want to embarrass his daughter and the Royal Family any further.

So now what?

Well, frankly, we might not know until Saturday. Late Monday, Kensington Palace issued a statement following the surprising turn of events, saying, “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.” Ugh, the last thing a bride needs is this kind of drama and stress less than a week before her big day.

According to the Daily Mail, Meghan pleaded with Thomas to change his mind and come to the wedding as planned but he wanted to save her from further humiliation.

“This is not what she wants,” said a source. “She obviously wants her dad there. And the idea of contemplating him not being there now is not something that she wants to have to do. She and Prince Harry are begging for people to give him some space. They have been saying this for weeks, while trying to offer him support and help. He is clearly feeling under immense pressure. The concern for him is real and genuine.”

The insider continued: “He is a proud man who wants to be a father and not be taken care of, but it’s quite difficult. Everyone needs to pause and think what this is doing to them and, more importantly, to him. It is a really worrying, scary situation. The couple have been doing everything they can to help him.”

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And it’s not just Meghan and Thomas who are feeling it. The source added, “Harry feels guilty that this has happened to someone he loves because they are in a relationship with him. He is devastated. He feels like this is another thing in the wake of him … the problems he causes. He feels that anyone who gets associated with his life – this is the price they have to pay. He wants to protect her and this is really difficult for him to swallow.”

Perhaps another reason Thomas doesn’t want to attend is because he doesn’t want to face Her Majesty herself. The Queen and Prince Philip are reportedly not pleased with the turn of events and are “very angry with Meghan’s father,” a source told the Daily Express. “They will speak to him once he arrives about the royal protocol.”

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That’s IF he arrives. But considering Thomas was supposed to have already arrived in the U.K. ahead of the wedding, a royal tell-off doesn’t look like it’s in the offing. Now, as for who will walk Meghan down the aisle, tradition suggests the next in line would be her next male relative, which would be Tom Jr. Ha! Since royal pigs aren’t flying, the obvious choice is Meg’s mom, Doria Ragland, who it probably should’ve been in the first place, if we’re being honest.

But if Thomas does find a way to get it together and be there for Meghan, hopefully he gets a half-decent welcome from the Royal Family, warm cordiality on Saturday, then is sent on his way with support, guidance and the proper tools for handling this new life that, admittedly, he didn’t ask for. The best thing the royals could do, for everyone, would be to secure Thomas’ future in some way. Does he deserve it? Well, who does, really? But no doubt that would go a long way to securing a peaceful future for all involved.

 

Don’t miss a moment of the festivities; tune in to CTV News’ live special Harry and Meghan: The Royal Wedding Saturday, May 19, starting at 4 a.m. ET on CTV and CTV.ca.

And get up to speed on everything royal wedding related with The Social’s Royal Wedding Show, airing this Friday at 1 p.m. ET.