Meghan Markle's sister reveals story behind controversial paparazzi shots of their father

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3 min read

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Meghan Markle’s sister arranged for paparazzi photographs to be taken of their father because she wanted the Royal Family to see him “in his proper light”.

Samantha Markle, who formerly went by the name Samantha Grant, revealed her part in the staged photographs of Thomas Markle Snr, which emerged shortly before Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018.

The photographs showed Markle Snr researching the UK and the Royal Family and appearing to prepare for the wedding. He did not attend the couple’s nuptials due to ill health, having suffered a heart attack days before he was scheduled to fly.

Now in her memoirs, Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, Markle admits her own role in arranging for the staged photographs and said she was “horribly upset” when surveillance camera footage showed the photographer walking three steps behind her father.

She explained a friend called her to offer her friend’s help to “discreetly take photographs of my father, putting him in an honest light, because other photographers had been so disparaging, intentionally” but clarified she “received no money for the deal”.

She said: “It was just allowing the Royals and the world to see him in his proper light, because he was so horribly labeled and photographed. It was like watching vultures feast.”

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Markle claimed the photographer promised to “take good care” of her father and said no one would work out that the pictures had been arranged.

However, her initial delight at the photographs turned to shock as it emerged that the photographer had been caught just a few feet behind her dad on the CCTV camera in the internet cafe where he staged the pictures.

She said: “I sent an email to the photographer, letting him know that I was horribly upset by what had occurred, and he said that he would arrange ‘something’ with my father that would make him happy, and that he would ‘fix the situation’.

“The damage was done, and the thought of ‘fixing it’ was tragicomedy at best.”

Britain’s Prince Harry gestures next to his wife Meghan as they ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Neither Thomas Markle Snr or Samantha Markle made it to the wedding in 2018. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

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Markle said her father had been through too much stress and was trying to “express love” to Meghan, indicating he intended to go to the wedding and had written his speech.

Her book, published by Central Park South Publishing, details her life growing up in California including memories of Meghan as a young girl and some of her teenage years.

The half-sisters have been estranged for several years, with Markle making comments soon after Meghan’s relationship with Prince Harry was revealed, calling her a social climber and pushy.

Markle and her brother Thomas Jr, who is Meghan’s half-brother, were not invited to Harry and Meghan’s Windsor wedding in May 2018.

Markle’s book has been in the works since 2017.