THE Markle family have been thrust into the spotlight as a result of Meghan’s upcoming wedding to Prince Harry.
Here’s everything you need to know about Thomas W Markle Sr, the father of the woman about to marry the sixth in line to the throne…
Instagram Meghan Markle shared a cute throwback photo of her father on social media
Who is Thomas W Markle, where is he from and what does he do?
Thomas W Markle, the father of the actress Meghan Markle, is of Dutch-Irish origin, and was born in 1945.
He is a former television lighting director working on iconic US shows including Married with Children and General Hospital.
In 2011 he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series for his work on General Hospital, a long-running US soap.
He was married to Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, in 1979 – but they divorced in 1987.
Getty Images – WireImage Meghan Markle was first romantically linked to Prince Harry in 2016
Will Thomas Markle walk Meghan down the aisle?
After some uncertainty, it was confirmed that Thomas would walk his daughter down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry on May, 19.
Thomas planned to make the trip from Mexico, where he is spending his retirement, to attend the wedding and had been spotted looking up the latest on the happy couple online.
However, on May 14, it emerged he had been struck down by a heart problem and pulled out of the ceremony after realising he might be too ill to make the trip.
The bombshell revelation came as he admitted he was paid to pose for paparazzi pictures sold to news outlets worldwide.
Meghan’s mother Doria will also attend the wedding along with Meghan’s best friends Jessica Mulroney and Lindsay Roth.
In a further twist Thomas then told TMZ that he DID want to attend the wedding – although admitted his doctors might not let him travel due to recent health scares.
He said: “I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle.”
However, the US outlet later reported that his hopes were in vain, with Meghan’s dad set to have heart surgery.
Reportedly conceding that his attendance on the big day was now “impossible”, he said: “They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed.”
On May 16, it was reported that Thomas had undergone “successful” surgery and was “alert and coherent” following the procedure.
How does Meghan describe her father, Thomas?
It is clear from social media updates that Meghan has a lot of love for her father.
“Happy Father’s Day, daddy. I’m still your buckaroo, and to this day your hugs are still the very best in the whole wide world,” the star wrote on Instagram in 2016 – sharing a throwback snap of her with her father when she was a baby.
“Thanks for my work ethic, my love of Busby Berkeley films & club sandwiches, for teaching me the importance of handwritten thank you notes, and for giving me that signature Markle nose. I love you xo -Bean,” she added.