Meghan Markle's family hope father Thomas can make royal wedding

  • Thomas Markle, 73, has revealed he will be having heart surgery this morning
  • It means he will not be able to fly to England for daughter Meghan's wedding 
  • Said he pulled out of wedding on Monday to save Meghan from embarrassment  
  • It comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed Mr Markle colluded with paparazzi

By Sarah White and Mark Duell and Cheyenne Roundtree and Alex Robertson For Mailonline and Rebecca English for the Daily Mail

Published: 09:24 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 10:31 EDT, 16 May 2018

The nephew of Meghan Markle has said his family are still hopeful that her father can make the royal wedding despite him saying he will undergo major heart surgery today.

Tyler Dooley refused to rule out that Thomas Markle would fly to the UK before the big day in Windsor on Saturday.

He told MailOnline: 'We all hope [that he’ll make it]. But we’ll just have to wait and see.' 

When asked if he was excited about the Royal Wedding, he said: 'I’m excited, yeah.' 

Thomas, 73, who lives in Mexico, revealed that doctors will 'go in and clear blockage, repair damage, and put a stent where it is needed' during the operation, which will take place at 3.30pm UK time (7.30pm local time).

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Thomas Dooley
Thomas Dooley
Thomas Markle
Thomas Markle

Tyler Dooley (pictured in London) refused to rule out that Thomas Markle (right, in Mexico) would fly to the UK before the big day in Windsor on Saturday

The surgery is the latest twist surrounding Mr Markle's attendance at Meghan's wedding
The surgery is the latest twist surrounding Mr Markle's attendance at Meghan's wedding

The surgery is the latest twist surrounding Mr Markle's attendance at Meghan's wedding

Meghan, pictured with Harry on April 25, pleaded with her father   to walk her down the aisle
Meghan, pictured with Harry on April 25, pleaded with her father   to walk her down the aisle

Meghan, pictured with Harry on April 25, pleaded with her father to walk her down the aisle

Mr Markle is thought to have previously stayed at General Hospital in Rosarito, the town where he lives, but it is unclear where today's operation will take place.

Free public healthcare is provided in Mexico, as opposed to the US where it is administered by private institutions.

The retired lighting director believes his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son, Thomas Jr, wrote trying to convince Harry not to marry Meghan.

Meanwhile it was claimed today that the relationship between Meghan's parents has been strained further after the fallout over the paparazzi photos.

A source told The Sun Online: 'Thomas and Doria are currently barely speaking to one another. 

'He is trying to make peace after everything that has happened. Their relationship had been hanging by a thread for months before the staged photo scandals. 

'He had told friends that he wanted to come with the peace gesture for an appeasement before the wedding and his daughter's big day, but his recent actions have crushed that.'

The revelation over surgery was the latest twist on a rollercoaster of speculation surrounding whether Mr Markle would attend Saturday's royal wedding at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

It came just hours after Meghan seemed to have convinced her father to change his mind and walk her down the aisle.

He pulled out on Monday, saying he didn't want to further embarrass his daughter after The Mail On Sunday revealed he had staged paparazzi photos for money.

But yesterday it seemed he had backtracked on his decision after the bride-to-be pleaded with him to come to England for the big day in Berkshire.

He told TMZ that Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn't near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health. 

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tour the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group offices in west London today
Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tour the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group offices in west London today

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tour the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group offices in west London today

On the go: The 61-year-old yoga instructor and social worker got picked up at her California home as she made her way to LAX
On the go: The 61-year-old yoga instructor and social worker got picked up at her California home as she made her way to LAX
On the go: The 61-year-old yoga instructor and social worker got picked up at her California home as she made her way to LAX
On the go: The 61-year-old yoga instructor and social worker got picked up at her California home as she made her way to LAX

On the go: Meghan's mother Doria was picked up at her California home as she made her way to LAX on Tuesday

A fleet of VIP cars, thought to be driving Meghan’s mother, were seen leaving Heathrow airport around lunchtime today
A fleet of VIP cars, thought to be driving Meghan’s mother, were seen leaving Heathrow airport around lunchtime today

A fleet of VIP cars, thought to be driving Meghan's mother, were seen leaving Heathrow airport around lunchtime today

Mr Markle has said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a 'good choice' to give their daughter away at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Pictured: Doria  with Meghan in March 2015
Mr Markle has said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a 'good choice' to give their daughter away at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Pictured: Doria  with Meghan in March 2015

Mr Markle has said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a 'good choice' to give their daughter away at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Pictured: Doria with Meghan in March 2015

'I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle,' Mr Markle said yesterday. 'Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history.' 

Mr Markle, who had a heart attack a week ago, returned to the hospital yesterday after having chest pains. He said a series of tests found that the heart attack had done 'significant damage' and revealed he needed immediate surgery. 

Mr Markle also blamed his recent health troubles on his son Thomas, who told Harry that marrying Meghan would be the 'biggest mistake in royal wedding history'.

'It's not too late, Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you,' Thomas's letter, shared with InTouch, reads. 'I'm confused why you don't see the real Meghan that the whole world now sees.' 

Thomas went on to call his half-sister a 'jaded, shallow, conceited woman, that will make a fool of you and the royal family heritage'. 

Just a week later, in another open letter, Thomas apologised for his words and begged Meghan to invite him to her wedding.  

Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle gave a bombshell interview to US media today where she insisted she had 'freedom of speech' and every right to speak out
Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle gave a bombshell interview to US media today where she insisted she had 'freedom of speech' and every right to speak out

Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle gave a bombshell interview to US media today where she insisted she had 'freedom of speech' and every right to speak out

Mr Markle said that he did not want to embarrass his daughter  (pictured together, circa 2000)
Mr Markle said that he did not want to embarrass his daughter  (pictured together, circa 2000)

Mr Markle said that he did not want to embarrass his daughter (pictured together, circa 2000)

When asked what the Queen thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: 'I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing'
When asked what the Queen thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: 'I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing'
Her Majesty is pictured at a garden party today at Buckingham Palace
Her Majesty is pictured at a garden party today at Buckingham Palace

Asked what the Queen (pictured yesterday at Buckingham Palace) thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: 'I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing'

Mr Markle revealed he believes his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son, Thomas Jr (pictured), wrote to Prince Harry trying to convince him not to marry Meghan
Mr Markle revealed he believes his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son, Thomas Jr (pictured), wrote to Prince Harry trying to convince him not to marry Meghan

Mr Markle revealed he believes his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son, Thomas Jr (pictured), wrote to Prince Harry trying to convince him not to marry Meghan

But when it came to her father, Mr Markle revealed that Meghan held no hard feelings against him for setting up paparazzi photos for money.

When asked what the Queen thought about his money grab, Mr Markle laughed and said: 'I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing.'

Who will give Meghan away if her father isn't cleared by doctors?

Doria Ragland - 4/6 

Prince Charles - 2/1 

Prince William - 5/1

Meghan Walks Solo down the Aisle 5/1

Thomas Markle 10/1

Gabriel Macht 14/1  

Prince Philip 20/1 

Prince Harry 33/1 

Kate Middleton 100/1

Mr Markle said although he doesn't believe faking the 'hammy' photos was that serious, he admitted it was a 'stupid' decision. 

He also blasted his eldest daughter Samantha Markle, who revealed she convinced Mr Markle to set up the photos.

Mr Markle said Samantha has no real relationship with Meghan, and knows nothing of her relationship with Harry.

Before changing his mind, Mr Markle said he believed his ex-wife Doria Ragland would be a 'good choice' to give their daughter away at St George's Chapel, where the wedding is being held in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Miss Ragland is flying into the UK from Los Angeles to support her daughter and would be the clear favourite to walk her down the aisle if Mr Markle is not cleared by doctors to fly.

Prince Charles is 2/1 with the bookies to step in, while Prince William is 5/1 to take Meghan into St George's Chapel before starting his duties as Harry's best man.

There have also been a flurry of bets on Meghan walking down the aisle alone. On Monday night, Mr Markle told TMZ that Miss Ragland should be the person to do it.

Mr Markle's ex-wife Doria Ragland is expected to meet  Prince Charles and Camilla (pictured at a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Society yesterday)
Mr Markle's ex-wife Doria Ragland is expected to meet  Prince Charles and Camilla (pictured at a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Society yesterday)

Mr Markle's ex-wife Doria Ragland is expected to meet Prince Charles and Camilla (pictured at a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Society yesterday)

Doria with her daughter Meghan at the Invictus Games closing ceremony
Doria with her daughter Meghan at the Invictus Games closing ceremony
Prince Harry and Meghan
Prince Harry and Meghan

Doria Ragland (left, with her daughter in Toronto in September 2017) has been keeping a low profile ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding (the couple, pictured right on April 23) 

Miss Ragland has been keeping a low profile in recent weeks ahead of Saturday's nuptials, and has been photographed out and about near her home in Los Angeles.

So far there has been no official announcement on who will now be walking Meghan down the aisle.

But according to TMZ, Mr Markle believes Miss Ragland, who has a close relationship with her daughter, should now be the one to give her away if he can not make it.

The yoga instructor and social worker has been described by Meghan as a 'free spirited clinical therapist' and she has been seen alongside Meghan at a number of public events.

Harry, who has described her as 'amazing', flew Miss Ragland out to Toronto to join Meghan and himself at the Invictus Games last year.

Royal experts said at the time that Harry's decision to invite Meghan's mother to join them at the closing ceremony of the tournament was 'hugely significant'.

Miss Ragland was already expected to have an 'important role' during the ceremony. It is thought she will ride with Meghan in the car to the chapel to Windsor Castle.

She is also expected to meet the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William and his wife, Kate, before the big day.   

The 73-year-old said Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn't near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health. Pictured: The father and daughter in her teenage years 
The 73-year-old said Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn't near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health. Pictured: The father and daughter in her teenage years 

The 73-year-old said Meghan tried calling him on Monday, but he wasn't near his phone. She later sent a text saying she loved him and was concerned about his health. Pictured: The father and daughter in her teenage years 

Thomas Markle is seen on surveillance video entering an internet cafe with photographer Jeff Rayner to set up staged photos
Thomas Markle is seen on surveillance video entering an internet cafe with photographer Jeff Rayner to set up staged photos

Thomas Markle is seen on surveillance video entering an internet cafe with photographer Jeff Rayner to set up staged photos

A friend of Meghan and Harry's told the Mail that she was standing by her father and pleaded for understanding, saying he was 'not in a good place'. 

Meghan wouldn't be the first to be given away by a woman at a royal wedding 

If Meghan Markle's mother does walk her down the aisle it won't be the first time it has happened.   

Queen Victoria gave away her youngest child Princess Beatrice at St Mildred's Church, Whippingham on the Isle of Wight in 1885.

She wore black to remember her husband Prince Albert who had died 24 years earlier, although her outfit is believed to have been encrusted with diamonds.  

Royal historian Victoria Howard told the BBC: 'I think it would be a lovely touch for Meghan's mother Doria to walk her down the aisle.

'It would be unusual but it wouldn't be an unprecedented move. Queen Victoria walked two of her daughters down the aisle'.  

The friend said: 'This is not what she wants. She obviously wants her dad there. And the idea of contemplating him not being there now is not something that she wants to have to do.

'She and Prince Harry are begging for people to give him some space. They have been saying this for weeks, while trying to offer him support and help. 

'He is clearly feeling under immense pressure. The concern for him is real and genuine. He is a proud man who wants to be a father and not be taken care of, but it's quite difficult. 

'Everyone needs to pause and think what this is doing to them and, more importantly, to him. It is a really worrying, scary situation. The couple have been doing everything they can to help him.' 

Harry, 33, is said to be distraught and could try to get Mr Markle to change his mind.

The friend said: 'Harry feels guilty that this has happened to someone he loves because they are in a relationship with him.

'He is devastated. He feels like this is another thing in the wake of him... the problems he causes. He feels that anyone who gets associated with his life – this is the price they have to pay.

'He wants to protect her and this is really difficult for him to swallow.'

Meghan will now be accompanied by only mother at the wedding (Doria Ragland with Prince Harry and Meghan in September)
Meghan will now be accompanied by only mother at the wedding (Doria Ragland with Prince Harry and Meghan in September)

Meghan will now be accompanied by only mother at the wedding (Doria Ragland with Prince Harry and Meghan in September)

The couple issued an unprecedented official statement through Kensington Palace in the wake of the crisis.

A spokesman said: 'This 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.' 

US gossip website TMZ claimed to have spoken 'on the record' to Miss Markle's father, who confirmed he had worked with the freelance photographer to set up images of him being measured for his wedding suit and searching online for articles about his daughter.

He said he did it to 'rehabilitate' his image but had been left looking 'stupid and hammy' – and would not be travelling to the UK to give her away in order to spare her further embarrassment. 

Kensington Palace was clearly broadsided by the claims as aides had insisted on Sunday that Mr Markle would be by his daughter's side at Windsor Castle this weekend. 

TMZ further claimed that Mr Markle – a former award-winning Hollywood lighting director who lives a reclusive life in Mexico and has yet to meet his future son-in-law – confirmed he had been offered money by US-based freelance photographer Jeff Rayner.

Thomas Jr previously told DailyMail.com his father was 'struggling' ahead of the wedding
Thomas Jr previously told DailyMail.com his father was 'struggling' ahead of the wedding

Thomas Jr previously told DailyMail.com his father was 'struggling' ahead of the wedding

Thomas Markle admitted to staging  paparazzi photos (pictured) with an agency for money
Thomas Markle admitted to staging  paparazzi photos (pictured) with an agency for money

Thomas Markle admitted to staging paparazzi photos (pictured) with an agency for money

But he insisted the 'deal' was not 'principally' about money. Instead, he wanted to 'rehabilitate' his image after pictures had been published of him looking overweight and dishevelled.

HOW MEGHAN'S BIG DAY WAS UPENDED: TIMELINE TO THOMAS MARKLE'S DECISION TO STAY AWAY

TUESDAY MAY 8: On Monday May 14, Thomas Markle Sr claims he suffered a heart attack six days ago - making it either Tuesday or Wednesday May 8 or 9. He claims he checked himself out of hospital in order to attend the royal wedding. Markle Sr was at his home from Sunday 7 onwards and was not seen leaving it at any time 

WEDNESDAY MAY 9: Markle leaves his Mexican home at 8.30pm. He checks into the Rodeway Inn in San Ysidro, just across the U.S. border, and shops at a nearby 7-11. He is seen purchasing Gas X medication, a milkshake and a bottle of Heineken

THURSDAY MAY 10: At 4.10am Markle drives 135 miles to his property in Los Feliz. He picks up mail at UPS before stopping in to CVS to buy his former wife Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, a card and returning home. He is later photographed purchasing two Happy Meals and a creamy drink at a McDonalds drive-thru. He also bought a large pot of flowers for his estranged wife from a Home Depot 

Later that afternoon, he is pictured dropping off the flowers and card at Doria Ragland's home. He is then pictured picking up KFC close to the Mexico border as he returns to his Mexico home

FRIDAY MAY 11: Markle remains in his Mexico home

SATURDAY MAY 12: Markle remains in his Mexico home

SUNDAY MAY 13: The Mail on Sunday reveals that Markle has been staging paparazzi photos of himself in the run up to the royal wedding - the photos have raised north of $110,000. Markle remains in his Mexico home 

MONDAY May 14: Markle announces he will not attend his daughter's wedding or walk her down the aisle. According to TMZ, he admitted to staging paparazzi photos in the run up to the wedding. Sources say Kensington Palace was blindsided by the decision. In a statement they say is is a deeply personal matter for Ms Markle

The website wrote: 'He says since his daughter started dating Prince Harry he's been offered anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for interviews and he's turned all of them down. 

'Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money – though nowhere near the reported $100,000 – and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image. 

'He admits the pics look 'stupid and hammy'. He says he was just going along with the paparazzi agency, which he now deeply regrets.' 

The website continued: 'Meghan's father will not be walking her down the aisle on Saturday... he isn't going to the wedding at all because of the fallout over selling photos of himself.'

Mr Markle also told the website that he had suffered a heart attack six days ago but checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend the wedding.

There was no independent confirmation that Mr Markle had been ill, however.

Indeed, last week he was seen leaving his home in the beachside community of Rosarito, Mexico, and driving to San Diego, just over the US border. 

According to reports, he stopped for a few hours' sleep and then carried onto LA where he was photographed putting a pot of flowers on the doorstep of his ex-wife, Miss Ragland.

To add to the confusion, Mr Markle's daughter - Meghan's estranged half-sister Samantha - claimed that she was 'the culprit' behind the humiliating photograph debacle.

In a bizarre intervention, Samantha said she had advised her father to co-operate with the photographer to show himself – and, strangely, the Royal Family – in a 'positive' light.  She also insisted his motive hadn't been money.

One source told the Mail that Mr Markle was 'very unwell', adding: 'He is under significant stress.

'There is genuine concern about his safety. His health and safety are paramount [to Meghan]. He is under a huge amount of pressure.'

If Miss Markle's father is not at the wedding, it is believed Miss Ragland will walk her down the aisle.

Revealed: The 4 procedures Meghan Markle's father could undergo following his heart attack and why they will prevent him from giving his daughter away

By Alexandra Thompson, Health Reporter For MailOnline

Meghan Markle's father has confirmed he will not attend her wedding to Prince Harry in three days time after suffering a heart attack last week. 

Thomas Markle, 73, is due to have an operation at 3.30pm UK time today to 'go in and clear blockage, repair damage, and put a stent where it is needed', he is reported to have said. 

It is unclear where Mr Markle, who lives in Mexico, will have the procedure, however, heart attacks are treated using the same procedures throughout North America and in the UK. 

Mr Markle was admitted to hospital yesterday after suffering severe chest pains, with tests confirming the heart attack did 'significant damage' and requires immediate surgery.

Despite Meghan reportedly working hard to convince her father to walk her down the aisle, the retired lighting director is not expected to be in a fit enough state to travel across the Atlantic to Windsor after a major operation.

Mr Markle claims his heart attack was triggered by an open letter his son Thomas Jr wrote to Prince Harry saying marrying Meghan would be the 'biggest mistake in royal wedding history'.

Although it is unclear exactly what his surgery will involve, the MailOnline has rounded up the most common heart-attack operations and when Mr Markle may be able to congratulate his newly-married daughter in person.

Angioplasty

What is it?

An angioplasty involves making a small incision in a patient's arm or leg, through which a wire with an attached deflated balloon is thread through up to the coronary arteries.

The balloon is then inflated to widen areas where blood flow to the heart muscle has been reduced or cut off by plaque build up.

In some cases wires with laser tips are inserted to break up plaque. The balloon may also have a sharp rotating edge to cut away cholesterol build up. 

What does it do?

Angioplasties open blocked arteries, which restores normal blood flow to the heart.

This reduces chest pain and allows people to exercise if they were left immobile by their angina.

Angioplasties also reduce patients' risk of suffering a heart attack.

How long is the recovery? And what are the risks?

For patients being treated for chest pain, most are usually able to go home the same day of the operation. They should avoid strenuous activities and driving for at least a a week. 

Heart-attack patients may need to stay in hospital for several days after their angioplasties. 

Angioplasties are considered relatively non-invasive due to them only requiring a small incision in the arm or leg. The procedure generally lasts between 30 minutes and one hour. 

Risks depending on people's age and overall health but may include excessive bleeding, heart attacks and stroke. 

An angioplasty involves inserting a wire with an attached deflated balloon through an artery in a patient's arm, which is then thread up to the heart. The balloon expands and opens the artery
An angioplasty involves inserting a wire with an attached deflated balloon through an artery in a patient's arm, which is then thread up to the heart. The balloon expands and opens the artery

An angioplasty involves inserting a wire with an attached deflated balloon through an artery in a patient's arm, which is then thread up to the heart. The balloon expands and opens the artery

Stent placement

What is it? 

A stent is a wire mesh tube that props open arteries during an angioplasty. 

It surrounds the deflated balloon and expands with it when the balloon is inflated.  

After the balloon has been deflated and removed, the stent stays in the artery permanently.

The recovery process and risks are the same as they are for angioplasties.  

What does it do?

Stents hold arteries open to help improve blood flow to the heart and relieve chest pain. 

Stent placements are inserted in the same way as angioplasties but involve a wire mesh around the balloon. Once the balloon is removed, the stent remains to keep the artery open
Stent placements are inserted in the same way as angioplasties but involve a wire mesh around the balloon. Once the balloon is removed, the stent remains to keep the artery open

Stent placements are inserted in the same way as angioplasties but involve a wire mesh around the balloon. Once the balloon is removed, the stent remains to keep the artery open

Bypass

What is it? 

Bypass surgery involves taking arteries or veins from other parts of the body and using them to reroute blood around the clogged artery.

Depending on how narrowed people's arteries are, some patients may require several bypass grafts.

In some cases, small incisions are made in the chest, through which arteries or veins from the leg are attached to the heart. 

This requires the heart to be stopped, with blood being pumped through an oxygenator, which is also known as a 'heart-lung' machine. 

What does it do?

Bypasses are one of the most effective ways to restore blocked blood supplies to the heart.

As well as improving blood and oxygen supplies to the organ, the procedure relieves chest pain, reduces the risk of a heart attack and often allows patients to be more mobile.

How long is the recovery?

Most patients need to stay in hospital for at least a week after having a coronary artery bypass.

Patients are generally able to sit in a chair after one day, walk after three and use stairs after six. 

It takes around six weeks before people can resume their normal daily activities, such as working and driving, and three months before they make a full recovery.   

What are the risks?

Up to one in every three patients will suffer an irregular or abnormally fast heart rate, which is usually not serious and treatable with medication. 

Around one in 25 develop infections at the site of the incision on the chest, arms or legs.

Reduced kidney function affects less than one in 20, which is typically just temporary and resolves within a few weeks. 

Brain-related problems may also occur, which can affect people's abilities to concentrate. Although this can be permanent, it usually improves after a few months. 

Due to the heart and coronary arteries being vulnerable after a bypass, up to 10 per cent of patients suffer a heart attack within 30 days of the surgery.

Risks depend on a patient's age, overall health, weight and the number of vessels grafted.

Bypass surgery involves taking arteries or veins from other parts of the body and using them to reroute blood around the clogged artery. Some patients may require several grafts
Bypass surgery involves taking arteries or veins from other parts of the body and using them to reroute blood around the clogged artery. Some patients may require several grafts

Bypass surgery involves taking arteries or veins from other parts of the body and using them to reroute blood around the clogged artery. Some patients may require several grafts

Heart transplant

What is it?

Heart transplants involve removing diseased organs and replacing them with a healthy donated heart from someone who has recently died.

They are considered in patients with severe heart failure who have not responded to medication.

This may include those with coronary heart disease, birth defects that affect the heart or abnormally large or shaped hearts that have become stiff. 

Heart transplants involve a cut being made in the middle of the chest while a patient is under general anaesthetic. 

Once the diseased heart is removed, the donor organ is connected to the main arteries and veins, and should begin beating normally. 

What does it do?

Such procedures have been proven to restore heart health in patients with irreversible damage. 

Heart transplant can be life saving in patients whose organs no longer worked efficiently. 

How long is the recovery?

Most patients stay in hospital for between two and three weeks after a heart transplant. 

It can take several months before they can return to their normal activities.

Patients are required to take immune-system suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives to reduce the risk of their bodies rejecting the donated organ.

They also require regular check ups with heart specialists. 

What are the risks? 

One of the most common complications is the donor heart being rejected, which occurs when the immune system recognises the organ as foreign and attacks it.

Taking immunosuppressants to reduce the risk of rejection can cause side effects such as infections, weight gain and high blood pressure.  

In up to 10 per cent of surgeries, the heart transplant does not work properly, which can be lift threatening and requires medications, ventilators and bypass machines to keep circulation going. 

If the donated heart's function does not improve, a second transplant may be required. 

Narrowed and hardened arteries are common after a heart transplant. They tend to occur several years after the operation.

These can restrict the heart's blood supply, leading to attacks and even failure. Medications can prevent this.  

Heart transplants involve removing diseased organs and replacing them with a healthy donated heart from someone who has recently died. This is done in severe heart failure (stock)
Heart transplants involve removing diseased organs and replacing them with a healthy donated heart from someone who has recently died. This is done in severe heart failure (stock)

Heart transplants involve removing diseased organs and replacing them with a healthy donated heart from someone who has recently died. This is done in severe heart failure (stock)

Piers Morgan brands Meghan Markle's half-sister a 'little vulture' after she took the blame for her father's staged paparazzi photos - as she says she hopes he will still go to royal wedding

Piers Morgan has called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by 'trashing' the Suits star for years.

Samantha Markle appeared on Good Morning Britain and was accused of 'trading off her very tenuous connection' with Meghan, who she hasn't seen for ten years.

In an explosive exchange Mr Morgan asked her: 'How much money have you made from trashing Meghan Markle? to which Samantha replied: 'Not very much'.

Ms Markle said she had encouraged her father to do a deal with paparazzi claiming he had been treated 'shabbily' by the media.

But Piers went on the offensive and said: 'There's no bigger media vulture in this wedding than you. You are doing a book called the 'Diary of princess pushy's sister'. 

Samantha replied that a 'book cannot be judged by its cover or by its title'.  

Piers Morgan today called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha (right) a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by trashing the Suits star for years
Piers Morgan today called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha (right) a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by trashing the Suits star for years
Piers Morgan today called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha (right) a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by trashing the Suits star for years
Piers Morgan today called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha (right) a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by trashing the Suits star for years

Piers Morgan called Meghan Markle's estranged half-sister Samantha (right) a 'little vulture' and accused her grabbing money by trashing the Suits star for years

Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding
Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding

Samantha Markle, pictured with her famous half-sister in 2008, has said it's her fault their father agreed to appear in staged photos on the eve of the royal wedding

She also confirmed that her father has pulled out of Saturday's wedding but she hopes he will change his mind.

She said: 'I spoke to him early in the morning and he was quite depressed'.

When asked if he might change his mind she said: 'I hope so. I wanted to see him go [to the wedding]. 

'I don't know as of today what his plans are but I want him to go. Clearly the priority is whether it's safe for him to do that.' 

Yesterday the sister claimed she was 'the culprit' behind the embarrassing 'faked' photographs of their father taken in the run-up to this week's royal wedding.

Samantha, Thomas Markle's daughter by his first marriage, said she advised him to co-operate with a US-based paparazzo photographer in order to show himself - and, strangely, the royal family - in a 'positive' light and insisted his motive had not been money.

But she could not confirm whether Mr Markle had actually accepted any payment for his collusion for the stunt. Mr Markle later told TMZ he had.

Ms Markle told GMB: 'He was unfairly present in the media as shabby, I think photographer looked for the most unflattering photographs. 

'My father has really suffered at the hands of the media. I think a person has a right to say 'enough is enough, I want to be shown how I really am'.'

But Piers hit back and said he was a 'grown man who knew what he was doing'.

He said: 'You say this is all the media's fault, because the media has been treating him in shabby way, viewers will look at the way you've treated you sister Meghan and think that you treated her in a shabby way.

'You've spent the last two years criticising her, you called her narcissistic, selfish, that Hollywood has changed her and that Prince Harry shouldn't marry her, yet you have the gall to blame media vultures.

'You've made loads of money off the back of a tenuous link to Meghan Markle, who you've spoken to once in 10 years. You've been trashing her for two years you vulture'.

Samantha said she had not used those words to describe Meghan and Piers said 'we have all the transcripts'.  

Harry and Meghan are said to be heartbroken by his decision and will try to change his mind with just four days until their wedding
Harry and Meghan are said to be heartbroken by his decision and will try to change his mind with just four days until their wedding

Harry and Meghan are said to be heartbroken by his decision and will try to change his mind with just four days until their wedding

Yesterday she confirmed photographs taken of an apparently unwitting Mr Markle getting fitted up for his wedding suit and browsing pictures of his daughter on the internet had actually been taken in collaboration with a professional photographer, despite Kensington Palace issuing strongly worded requests for the media to protect his privacy.

Speaking from her home in Florida to ITV's Loose Women programme in London, his eldest daughter, Samantha, said: 'I have to say I am entirely the culprit. 

'As we know the media can take very unflattering photographs of people on their casual days and blow it way out of proportion.

'I said, you know, [to him] the world has no idea you're getting in shape, doing healthy things.

'They don't photograph you buying vegetables and PH water. They photograph you as unflattering ways as they can.

'So I said, really you need to show the world that you're getting in shape and doing great healthy things. So I suggested it.

'There's a lot of scrutiny that it was money motivated, it was not. It was my suggestion that to benefit him and to benefit the royal family that everyone looked good and they depict you as you are - in shape and doing healthy things.'

Asked if she could categorically say he did not receive money for the photographs, Samantha floundered slightly, saying: 'I don't believe so and that was not the motive. I have no idea but if he did I'm going to assume it was a pittance. They don't pay that much. It was really so that the world could see him doing the healthy things he enjoys doing.'

Asked whether she could understand how embarrassing the revelations were for Kensington Palace and her sister, particularly given their stance on protecting his privacy, she conceded that it would be 'awkward' but felt that his treatment by the media had been 'unjust' and 'somehow we could spin it...'

She also tweeted: 'The bad press over my father doing staged photos is my fault. The media was unfairly making him look bad so I suggested he do positive photos for his benefit and the benefit of the royal family. We had no idea he would be taken advantage of. It was not for money'

Despite posting a string of vitriolic tweets attacking her younger sister, Samantha also insisted that she was not bitter about Meghan's decision not to invite her to Saturday's wedding. The pair haven't actually seen each other for around a decade.

Here come the in-laws! Meghan's nephews and their mother touch down in London with 13 SUITCASES ahead of royal wedding TV special - despite 'NOT being invited' to the event itself

There has been much speculation as to which members of Meghan's family will be attending her nuptials to Prince Harry in Windsor ion Saturday.

And while her father has confirmed he will not attend it looks as though her nephews Tyler and Thomas Dooley along with their mother, Meghan's sister-in-law, Tracy Dooley seem determined to take part in the big day.

Despite previously revealing they hadn't received an invite to the royal wedding the trio were seen making their way to the arrivals gate at the London airport on Monday.

The family have been enlisted as 'special correspondents' for Good Morning Britain and are expected to report from Windsor, though are thought not to be attending the ceremony.

Meghan's sister-in-law Tracy Dooley was pictured arriving at Heathrow airport on Monday
Meghan's sister-in-law Tracy Dooley was pictured arriving at Heathrow airport on Monday

Meghan's sister-in-law Tracy Dooley was pictured arriving at Heathrow airport on Monday

She was joined by her sons and Meghan's nephews Tyler (pictured) and Thomas Dooley
She was joined by her sons and Meghan's nephews Tyler (pictured) and Thomas Dooley

She was joined by her sons and Meghan's nephews Tyler (pictured) and Thomas Dooley

Armed with no less than 13 suitcases the family, including Tyler's girlfriend Sandra Bazan (left)  made their way out of the international airport having flown in from their home in Oregon
Armed with no less than 13 suitcases the family, including Tyler's girlfriend Sandra Bazan (left)  made their way out of the international airport having flown in from their home in Oregon

Armed with no less than 13 suitcases the family, including Tyler's girlfriend Sandra Bazan (left)  made their way out of the international airport having flown in from their home in Oregon

Armed with no less than 13 suitcases the family cut a casual figure as they made their way out of the international airport having flown in from their home in Oregon.

A cheerful Tracy could even be seen flashing a peace sign to photographers as she made her way from security.

And it's clear that the family couldn't be happier about making the trip across the pond; shortly after arriving in London, Tyler began posting image from London on his Facebook page, sharing snaps of a few landmarks, as well as an image showing the interior of his hotel room.

The family is thought to be staying at the H10 hotel in Waterloo, where rooms are available for as little as £70, or $93, per night. The hotel is located just a short distance from Waterloo station, and is an hour's driving distance from St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Meghan and Harry are due to tie the knot.

Along with the images - which also showed the outside of another nearby landmark, the Imperial War Museum, seemingly captured from the back of a car - Tyler also shared an update about his travels with his Facebook friends, writing: 'Just touched down in London!!! Man what a journey so far. We're safe and sound!'

The images were met with a warm response from Tyler's Facebook friends, with many urging him to 'have a blast', while others reminded Meghan's nephew to 'take pics'.

Others, however, weren't quite so clued into the reason for the family's journey to London, with one person questioning, 'There for the wedding or other biz [sic]?'

They have of course previously appeared on the ITV show, when they claimed to have been snubbed from the wedding list.

A cheerful Tracy could even be seen flashing a peace sign to photographers as she made her way from security
A cheerful Tracy could even be seen flashing a peace sign to photographers as she made her way from security
She cut a casual figure in black leggings, and a cowboy boots
She cut a casual figure in black leggings, and a cowboy boots

A cheerful Tracy could even be seen flashing a peace sign to photographers as she made her way from security

The family  are expected to make an appearance on Good Morning Britain this
								           
								           
        
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