Prince Harry Feels ‘Very Protective’ of Meghan Markle, Focusing on Their ‘Special Day’ (Exclusive)

Tim Rooke

Prince Harry is making fiancee Meghan Markle his number one concern amid Meghan’s headline-making drama with her father, Thomas Markle, a source tells ET.

On Tuesday, Thomas told TMZ that he would not be attending the royal wedding because he has to have surgery on Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack a week ago. Earlier that day, Thomas told the website that he had changed his mind about attending the wedding and walking Meghan down the aisle, after initially saying he wasn’t going to due to a photo scandal in which The Daily Mail reported he was staging paparazzi photos of himself getting ready for the wedding.

According to the source, Prince Harry is making Meghan’s well-being a priority throughout the scandal.

“Harry wants nothing more than for Meghan to enjoy this meaningful time in their lives, but there has been so much turmoil over her father and his plans to give her away,” the source says. “In recent years she and her father haven’t been close, but she loves him dearly and would mean a lot to her if he was there for support.” 

“Meghan isn’t angry at her father and she understands what happened to him regarding the photos, but of course she wishes it hadn’t happened,” the source also notes.

But according to the source, Prince Harry has been especially “hurt and angered” by the behavior of Meghan’s half-siblings, Samantha Grant and Thomas Markle Jr. In particular, 53-year-old Samantha has been openly critical of Meghan in the press, and has claimed that she was behind the photos that were allegedly staged of Thomas, explaining her intention was to “benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are.” Samantha is also publishing a book about Meghan titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.

“[Prince Harry has been telling friends it has been] unnecessarily cruel coverage of Meghan,” the source says. “He is so upset.”

Media coverage is an especially sensitive issue for the 33-year-old royal, the source notes, given his personal history.

“Harry has never felt at ease with press coverage because he watched his mother shy away from the cameras and now that his fiancee has been so negatively affected, it’s hard for him,” the source explains.

“While meeting each other has been a dream come true, the embarrassment Meghan has endured because of her family’s openness with the press has been incredibly trying,” the source adds. “Harry loves Meghan and has felt very protective of how she and her family have been portrayed throughout their engagement. He feels much of the coverage of her family has been very hurtful.”

Despite the drama, the source says Prince Harry is choosing to focus on the couple’s big day on Saturday.

“While he feels like speaking publicly about it, he doesn’t want to make waves before the ceremony,” the source explains about Prince Harry’s reaction so far. “He realizes he needs to refrain from the negative at the moment and focus on his love for Meghan and their special day.” 

“They are both doing everything to focus on their love for one another and trying to make the experience the fairy tale it should be,” the source adds. “Their friends are so excited because they have amazing chemistry and are perfect for one another. You can tell that they truly feel lucky to have found each other. … The planning hasn’t been easy, but they are so excited to finally tie the knot.”

Meanwhile, one person we can definitely count on to be at the wedding is Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, whom the 36-year-old actress has always had a close relationship with. Doria was spotted making her way to Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday and according to a source, traveled with a palace guard to London.

For more on Doria’s arrival, watch the video below, and keep up with all of ET’s coverage of the royal wedding as we count down to May 19.

— Reporting by Adriane Schwartz

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