FRESH BOMBSHELL: Meghan's dad faces imminent surgery
WHETHER he wants to or not, it now appears Meghan Markle's dad will be unable to walk his daughter down the aisle at her upcoming wedding.
He'ss facing "major surgery" instead.
Markle told TMZ that he will head into surgery 7.30am Wednesday, LA time - less than 24 hours away.
"They (doctors) will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed," he said.
The major surgery will come just days before the royal wedding, and put paid to any lingering plans Markle may have had about attended.
Markle had earlier told TMZ on Tuesday his heart was "seriously damaged" after a recent heart attack but that he was still determined to attend the wedding.
EARLIER: MEGHAN Markle's dad has said he does want to walk his daughter down the aisle at her upcoming wedding - if doctors will let him.
Thomas Markle told TMZ on Tuesday his heart was "seriously damaged" after a recent heart attack but he still wants to attend the wedding.
"I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," TMZ reported him as saying, adding that he had received a text from Meghan saying she loved him and was worried about his health.
Thomas Markle reportedly said that while his staged pictures were "stupid" he did not believe the Queen would be upset.
"Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history," he is quoted as saying.
It comes as Meghan's estranged half-sister Samantha has been blasted as a "vulture" by television host Piers Morgan after she defended her father's decision to take staged paparazzi pictures ahead of the royal wedding.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Samantha Markle, 53, backed her father Thomas Markle, 73, after he reportedly said he would stay away from Meghan's wedding to avoid embarrassing his daughter and the royal family.
"He wanted peace and quiet," Samantha said about the days leading up to the wedding.
"But when he calls me panicking on the freeway because he's in a dangerous situation, being followed by seven or eight cars, I think there have been examples in history of how dangerous that can be," she said in a thinly veiled reference to the death of Princess Diana in a Paris car accident while being followed by photographers.
"He was so stressed out. They rented the house next to him in Mexico ... He can't open his blinds he can't go anywhere without being followed. Really it's quite atrocious and intrusive."
Samantha, who hasn't spoke to her half-sister Meghan in three years, said their father was having heart pains and was under an "unbelievable" amount of stress.
She has also taken the blame for the staged photographs that showed him getting measured for a suit, working out and an internet cafe.
When she labelled the media "vultures", host Piers Morgan jumped in, saying: "There's no bigger media vulture with this wedding than you, is there Ms Markle?"
"How you can have the gall to come on here and talk about media vultures. You wrote a book called The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister.....You've been trashing her for two years, you little vulture."
He also accused her of "popping up on the airwaves and making a lot of money for herself". But Samantha defended her book and said "people just want to look at the negatives."
It comes as Meghan's extended family was spotted flying into London ahead of Saturday's wedding that is expected to be watched by millions of people around the world.
Meghan's nephews Tyler, 25, and Thomas Dooley, 26, and their mum Tracy Dooley Markle were photographed at Heathrow Airport late on Monday.
In a sign they perhaps were planning a lengthy stay, the trio and Tyler's girlfriend had 13 pieces of luggage between them.
With no invite to the wedding of the year, they are believed to be special correspondents for morning television show Good Morning Britain.
They were reportedly staying in rooms in London's Waterloo that cost as little as $126 a night and have already wasted no time posting selfies from famous London landmarks online, including the London Eye and Big Ben.
"We're here! Yay!" Tracy wrote, while Tyler posted: "Just touched down in London!!! man what a journey so far. We're safe and sound!" [sic].
Tracy was married to Meghan's half brother Thomas Markle Jnr. The boys have not seen their famous aunty in many years and their father has been estranged from his sister since 2011.
Tracy previously told Good Morning Britain she expected to be shunned from the event.
"I don't think we're going to get an invite and that's fine. We're OK with that and are supporting her. We're so proud of her."
Thomas Markle Jnr caused an uproar when he recently wrote an open letter to Prince Harry urging him to halt the wedding to prevent "the biggest mistake in royal wedding history".
Meanwhile celebrity website TMZ claimed Kensington Palace was caught "flat-footed" by the news Thomas Markle would not attend the wedding due to his shame over the staged photographs.
He was due to fly into the UK this week and meet Prince Harry for the first time, as well as Prince William, Prince Charles, the Queen and Prince Philip before walking his daughter down the aisle.
Kensington Palace have asked for respect and privacy to be extended to Meghan Markle and her father at this "deeply personal moment in the days before her wedding."
It's understood Meghan Markle still wants her father to attend, although reports suggest her mother, Doria Ragland, 61, will walk her down the aisle instead.
The furore is the latest scandal in an unhappy relationship between Prince Harry and the media.
In November 2016 the Prince blasted the press for intrusion into her life when he revealed the pair were dating with a strongly worded statement.
It said Prince Harry had "never been comfortable" with the "significant curiosity" about his private life and slammed the "wave of abuse and harassment" his new girlfriend had been subjected to.
"Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments," it said.
"It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is 'the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his."
Former Sun royal editor Duncan Larcombe said the 33-year-old prince has retained a deeply ingrained distrust of the media after his mother, Princess Diana, became the target of relentless scrutiny after her split from Prince Charles.
"Harry's attitude towards the press is he doesn't like the press," he told AP.
"In Harry's mind, it was the press that killed his mother."
Princess Diana's death provoked a crisis for the monarchy and led to new truce between the UK media and royal family, with tightly managed media opportunities traded off for less intrusion into the royals private lives, particularly their children.