Meghan Markle pleaded with her father to walk her down the aisle after he apparently pulled out of Saturday’s wedding because of the faked photographs row.
Friends said the bride-to-be was distraught after troubled Thomas Markle, 73, said he wanted to save her further embarrassment, following reports that he colluded with a paparazzi photographer to stage a series of pictures in the run-up to the wedding.
A friend of Miss Markle, 36, and her fiancé, Prince Harry, told the Mail that she was standing by her father and pleaded for understanding, saying he was ‘not in a good place’.
The friend said: ‘This is not what she wants. 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.
‘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.’
Harry, 33, is said to be blaming himself.
The friend said: ‘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.’