TMZ stands for Thirty Mile Zone which measures the Hollywood studio perimeter. This week, however, TMZ is the Thomas Markle Zone. Because this is Meghan Markle’s father’s preferred media outlet. As you know, Thomas Markle was supposed to be in England by now and, along with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, was scheduled to meet senior members of the royal family. That didn’t happen because his other two children have been dragging their sh-t all over the place, resulting in embarrassing paparazzi photos and triggering a heart situation for which he apparently had surgery yesterday. And pretty much as soon as he got out of surgery, TMZ was on it, reporting that Thomas “seemed alert and coherent”. Because, of course, they talked to him. "I'm ok,” he told them. “It will take a long time to heal. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited." 

It almost sounds like they were in the recovery room with him….WHAT THE F-CK. 

We were at dinner last night when the alert pinged our phones that TMZ had sent out their hourly Thomas Markle Zone update, prompting my friend to remark that, “I was hoping all we’d be talking about this week was going to be the flower arrangements and sh-t”. That was certainly the royal family’s intention. Over here in England, some of the papers are calling out the palace for mismanaging the situation. Some are wondering if all the Markles should have been invited in the first place so as to avoid all the drama created by Samantha and Thomas Jr. Sure, but now that you’ve seen what both of them are capable of, would you have wanted them inside that chapel? Actually, I’m going to say yes to that question because I’m not the one marrying into the royal family so the sight of Samantha Markle asking the Queen for a selfie would have probably made my life. Still others are pointing out that the royal communications team, with all their resources, should have been on it a lot sooner to contain the Markle wildcards. That’s the problem though. They don’t understand wildcards. The royal operation is so precise, set up to avoid wildcards and rogues entirely, that they seldom have to ever consider what would happen in a wildcard situation. The royals are people with all the f-cks to give, down to every last f-ck about how a napkin should be folded. They don’t have any experience in a world with people who have no f-cks to give. The royal way is to control the story. The wildcard is always trying to rewrite the story. We’ve been seeing the chasm between those opposing philosophies play out in the most public way possible – at a time when technology can amplify everything. 

At post time, the palace has yet to even acknowledge that Thomas Markle is apparently in the hospital*. Part of that has to do with the fact that, as I’ve been saying, anything they say may change the minute it gets released because TMZ now means Thomas Markle Zone. We’ve not yet come to that point but right now it feels like it may be a matter of time before we start seeing and hearing screencaps of text threads and phone messages. The risk of being compromised is high. So with 48 hours to go, what is the play? Shrug and carry on? I mean, I guess why bother with any statements at all when TMZ is taking the lead anyway? And interestingly, all this controversy and crossed-wiring has resulted in all kinds of new mysteries, like a binge-able drama series, with a real-life twist right up to the last moment. The final reveal at a royal wedding is typically the dress. The presumed frontrunner has been Ralph & Russo. But this week, Stella McCartney is picking up momentum. I spoke to someone yesterday who said that Stella was in an important meeting recently and had to leave because of a dress emergency and there could have only been one dress urgent enough that would have taken priority over whatever discussion she was having at the time. Is that why Stella McCartney had such an underwhelming showing at the Met Gala? Because she’s been focusing on a bigger prize? Choosing Stella would be right in line with Harry and Meghan’s interests. She’s British and she’s all about sustainable fashion. Two of the seven charities that Harry and Meghan selected for wedding gifts are related to environmental protection. So it would make a lot of sense. And yet, right now, it’s looking like the dress is not the final mystery. The final mystery will be who’s walking her down the aisle. More on this in the next post. 

*This post was written at 5am in London, before Kensington Palace released the following:

So it’s confirmation of what we already knew from TMZ, Thomas Markle Zone. That he will not be attending. And maybe an ever so mild f-ck you to Samantha Markle who’s been screeching about how she’s the one who’s been caring the most about their father.