Thomas Markle sues paparazzi over snaps that ‘ruined relationship with Meghan’

Meghan Markle's dad is suing a British paparazzi agency over staged photos released just before his daughter married Prince Harry.

Thomas Markle Sr. filed a lawsuit at LA Superior Court on Tuesday against Coleman-Rayner, claiming that the pictures ruined his relationship with Meghan and Harry.

The lawsuit alleges that Mark Coleman and Jeff Rayner's agency violated a contract to photograph Thomas before the 2018 royal wedding, and it seeks $1 million (£740,000) in damages.

Speaking in a Channel 5 documentary after the wedding, Markle said that Rayner and another man convinced him to pose for several snaps that were to be released in the lead-up to the big wedding.

He added: "I didn't do this for money, I did this to change my image. I was presented as a hermit hiding out in Mexico but obviously that was a mistake and went wrong."

According to The Daily Beast, the lawsuit alleges that Markle agreed to the snaps in March 2018 but on the condition that he would have final approval on all of them before syndication.

He was to be paid $1,500 (£1,110) and 30% of all future sales of the images, the filing noted.

Unfortunately for Markle, the agency snapped him in some not-so-flattering poses, reading about his daughter in an internet cafe, reading a picture book about Britain, and running while holding small weights.

In the lead-up to the wedding, Buckingham Palace had issued a plea to the media urging them to respect his privacy.

However, CCTV footage soon emerged showing Markle and Rayner meeting in the internet cafe to stage the photo, creating a huge PR storm for the royals dubbed the "Markle Debacle".

Markle writes in a handwritten complaint as part of Tuesday's filing that "the contract was breached" because, as Meghan revealed in a TV interview, the tabloids had sat on the pictures for a month but he "was never given chance to approve images".

He also claims that he had two heart attacks as a result of the scandal, that he was subject to "worldwide embarrassment and ridicule ridicule", and that it led to him "losing my relationship with my daughter Meghan and son-in-law Prince Harry".

Coleman-Rayner issued a statement to The Daily Star, attributed to their lawyer, which read: "Mr. Markle’s hand-written court filing is so obviously frivolous that Mr. Markle, Daily Star, and anyone else who republishes the details of Mr. Markle’s court filing, will be liable to Coleman-Rayner for defamation."

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