THE estranged controversial half-sister of Meghan Markle has taken responsibility for the â€śstagedâ€ť paparazzi photos of her father, insisting it was for the benefit of the royal family and not a cheap grab for cash. But not everyone is convinced.
With less than a week to go before the royal wedding, Meghan Markleâ€™s father, Thomas Markle Sr, was accused of secretly collaborating with a British paparazzi photographer to stage a series of fake pictures.
The revelation sparked serious backlash, forcing Samantha Markle to take responsibility.
In a tweet, Ms Markle â€” who attracted headlines in the past when she announced she was planning a tell-all book called The Diary of Princess Pushyâ€™s Sister â€” claimed it was her idea for her father to be photographed in a series of royal wedding shoots, where he lives in Mexico.
She insisted it was all to paint her father in a â€śpositiveâ€ť light before he walks his daughter down the aisle at St Georgeâ€™s Chapel, Windsor, this weekend.
â€śThe media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family,â€ť she wrote.
â€śWe had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money.â€ť
The images â€” which appeared to show a lonely Mr Markle browsing images of his daughter and Prince Harry in an internet cafe, lifting weights to get in shape for the wedding, and being fitted for a suit for the big day â€” have allegedly netted up to $180,000.
But CCTV footage obtained by Britainâ€™s Mail alleges to show the photos were set up.
In one frame, the Mail on Sunday reports, the photographer is seen aiming his camera at Mr Markle as he looks at an image on-screen of the royal couple.
Witnesses who worked in the businesses where the photographs were taken told the newspaper they saw Mr Markle and the photographer setting up the images.
The staged photos also come after Kensington Palace issued a statement weeks ago pleading for Mr Markleâ€™s privacy to be respected after the American claimed he was being â€śharassedâ€ť by the paparazzi.
The public is now torching Ms Markle online, taking to Twitter to label the 53-year-old as â€śselfishâ€ť and â€śpatheticâ€ť.
The nuptial will take place this weekend, on Saturday, May 19, at St Georgeâ€™s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry was christened. It is said to have become a â€śvery special placeâ€ť for the couple in their relationship so far.