Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle, has reportedly said he will not attend his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry, prompting speculation over who will walk her down the aisle on Saturday. Father Controversy: Who Will Walk Meghan Down The Aisle? – CBS San Francisco

(CNN) — Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, has reportedly said he will not attend his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry, prompting speculation over who will walk her down the aisle on Saturday.

It’s the latest in a series of challenges for the royal couple who announced their engagement last November, and are due to tie in the knot in front of a worldwide audience at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.

From controversy over the photos to racist online abuse, here are the issues Meghan and Harry have had to deal with on their way to the aisle.

Photo fiasco
The problem of Markle’s father’s no-show arose Monday when he said he wouldn’t be attending due to embarrassment over a series of staged photographs.

A British newspaper revealed that her father had worked with a picture agency to take photos of him preparing himself for the wedding.

Thomas Markle said he now thought the pictures were “stupid and hammy,” according to a TMZ report, and that he made the decision to skip the wedding so he wouldn’t embarrass the royal family or his daughter.

Markle’s half-sister, Samantha, told a British TV network on Monday that she urged their father to stage the photos for the paparazzi to help improve his image.

The decision to bail out of the wedding has sparked a firestorm of interest over who will walk Markle down the aisle. Those mooted to take over his role include Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Prince Charles, Meghan’s future father-in-law, may be the most obvious choice to replace her father. But Prince William has spent more time with the bride and therefore may fit the bill, adding to his job as Prince Harry’s best man.

But Ragland is perhaps most likely to take on the task, given her particularly close relationship with her daughter.

Tabloid fodder
This is not the first blot on couple’s weddings plans. Markle’s previous relationships and marriage, and her heritage — her mother is African American and her father is Caucasian — have attracted the interest of the British press.

The Sun described her as a “brunette” and a “break from the mould for Prince Harry, who has previously dated a string of blondes”.

But the Daily Mail went further and displayed more prejudice, playing on stereotypes of African Americans. In a story headlined “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton,” it reported Markle’s mother lives in a “run-down area” in Crenshaw, Los Angeles.”

It described the neighborhood as “gang-scarred” and dominated by “tatty one-storey homes.”

Racist hate crimes
Markle has also had to contend with racial abuse. In February British police investigated a package reportedly addressed to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is bi-racial, as a “racist hate crime.”

The Metropolitan Police said that officers tested a substance in a package received at St James’s Palace, which the London Evening Standard said was a white powder. Other UK media reports said the package also contained a racist letter.

Markle has also been hounded online. Politician Paul Nehlen posted a photoshopped image of Markle with the head of Cheddar Man, whose 9,000-year-old remains indicate the dark-skinned man was an ancient Briton. Along with the image, he tweeted: “Honey does this tie make my face look pale?”

Twitter banned the Republican congressional candidate from Wisconsin for what a company representative called “repeated violations of our terms of service”.

The issue of racism was also raised after Princess Michael of Kent apologized after coming under fire for wearing a controversial Blackamoor brooch to a Buckingham Palace lunch attended by Markle.

Blackamoor, a decorative style that depicts African people as exoticized figures, is widely considered offensive. Media reports showing Princess Michael wearing the brooch prompted Twitter users to label her at worst overtly racist and at best out of touch.

Public smears
The media compared Markle to Wallis Simpson, the divorced American whose relationship with King Edward VIII led to his abdication in 1936. Also widely discussed are Markle’s “racy” and “fruity” scenes in Suits, her Instagram posts, her mother and the fact that she is three years older than Harry.

In November 2016, Prince Harry warned the media against harassing Markle in a rare statement issued by Kensington Palace.

“His girlfriend Meghan Markle has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. 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,” read the statement, which was issued by Prince Harry’s communications secretary through the palace Twitter account.

Who’s invited?
The couple also ran into controversy over their guest list, which did not include US President Donald Trump nor his predecessor Barack Obama.

Kensington Palace announced that the royal couple would not be inviting political leaders to the event, at least not on the basis of their official position.

There had been speculation in the UK media that British officials feared the political consequences if the couple decide to invite Barack and Michelle Obama, with whom they are friends, but not Donald Trump, who Markle has criticized as “divisive” and “misogynistic.”

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  1. Anna Cottage says:

    I think it is totally unfair to say that she is receiving so much Racial Abuse here in the UK. Really, well in the UK where the Whites are being challenged where our Christian Faith is being challenged, it is us that are being attacked not Markle. where one cannot fly the Flags of the UK because if one does you face being called a Racist. Markle is disliked in my Country by so many for herself, she is a gold digger and so obvious with it, she has also been married what Two/Three times, and then to be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury Head of The Church of England, HYPOCRISY. Stupid Harry could have married any Nice decent unmarried American Girl, but no he chose this one he lusted after her and now we are having her forced on us. Her family are really something else, its all a circus one could not make it up the fiasco. A Father has a “Heart Attack” caused by the British Press?? He then goes and buys McDonalds, the next day Kentucky Fried Chicken, “Heart Attack”? Set up job to have pictures taken for MONEY. They let themselves be seen as Trailer Trash, we have her sister on tv here the sister she last spoke to ten years ago, the sister who has just written another trashy book for money, what an embarrassment for America. We British Taxpayers are paying for this Wedding, plus we shall have to keep her until she decides to get another divorce which the bets are on for two to three years after marrying. You mention Oakland, well take a look at it.

    The dislike for Markle is for no other reason than what she is, what she looks like, and what she comes from. Buckingham Palace is now “Hillbilly Palace”. The Queen thought they had so much trouble with Diana, so they got rid of her, nothing compared to what this one will bring. If harry had brought a white american girl just like this to the Queen she would not have approved the marriage, the Queen had no choice in this one, otherwise cries of Racism would have gone up, agree? We have a detestable and much hated old b…h already in the Royles, that adulterous wife of Charles, the woman who used a young girl, prior to the young girl’s marriage and after, Diana. Parker Bowles and Charles both adulterers destroyed a beautiful young girl/young woman, not the Press they did the pair of them. Parker Bowles is hated so much here, so you see its not just Markle and we are not prejudiced. I am not a Royalist and I for one shall not be watching any tv or listening to the radio or looking at any papers on Saturday/Sunday.