By Jennifer Calfas
May 15, 2018

Meghan Markle’s half-sister said their father sold pictures of himself to the media because he was being hounded by the paparazzi in the run-up to his daughter’s royal wedding.

Thomas Markle may not attend Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday following a report that he suffered a heart attack amid news that he was staging photo shoots. On Monday, Kensington Palace released a statement on Thomas Markle, who was scheduled to walk Meghan down the aisle.

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” the statement said. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

Samantha Markle, who said she has not spoken to her sister Meghan in years, told the British morning show Good Morning Britain Tuesday that her father cannot even open his blinds at his home in Mexico and “can’t go anywhere without being followed.”

Markle added that her father would call her 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 told Good Morning Britain, a likely reference to the death of Princess Diana, the mother of Meghan Markle’s future husband who died when her car crashed in Paris as her driver sped away from paparazzi in pursuit.

“Really, it’s quite atrocious and intrusive. I think it’s highly unethical,” Samantha Markle said.

On Monday, Samantha Markle said in an interview on British talk show Loose Women, that she helped her father stage photos of him reading books about Great Britain and looking at photos of his daughter and Prince Harry on a computer at an internet cafe. A Daily Mail report Sunday revealed the photos appeared to be staged by Thomas Markle.

Thomas Markle and Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland had also been expected to travel to the United Kingdom ahead of the wedding this week and meet Prince Harry’s family, including the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, among others, according to the Kensington Palace. Ragland, who is no longer married to Thomas Markle, is still expected to participate.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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