Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement after gossip website TMZ last night revealed Mr Markle, 73, will not walk Meghan Markle down the aisle after suffering a heart attack.
Mr Markle is said to be fearful of embarrassing his daughter after he was caught in a paparazzi scandal which saw photographers pay him to pose for “hammy” photos.
Palace officials said: â€śThis is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”
Mr Markle told the website he felt embarrassed by the situation, regretted the “hammy” photos and has suffered a heart attack in recent days.
He said paparazzi had been hounding him for weeks, capturing unflattering photographs.
He said when approached by a photograph agency he agreed to stage some pictures in an attempt to improve his reputation.
Speculation is now mounting over who will walk Meghan down the aisle with her social worker and yoga instructor mother tipped for the role in aÂ royal weddingÂ first.
Meghan, 36, has previously opened up about her close relationship with her mother, Doria.
Writing for Glamour magazine, she said: â€śMy mom’s a yoga instructor, but she does social work, as well, and she works specifically with the geriatric community.
â€śFor me to watch this level of life-long sensitivity to nurturing and caregiving, but at the same time my mom has always been a free spirit. She’s got dread locks and a nose ring. She just ran the LA Marathon.
â€śWe can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support.
â€śThat duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend.â€ť
Express.co.uk has contacted Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services for comment.