Snapper who staged Meghan Markle dad pics is from Canterbury

Meghan Markle. Her father Thomas has pulled out of the royal wedding

The paparazzi photographer who took the staged pictures of Meghan Markle’s father ahead of Saturday’s royal wedding is from Canterbury, it has emerged.

Jeff Rayner photographed Thomas Markle, 73, apparently preparing for his daughter’s marriage into the British royal family. It was later discovered they had been set up.

The 44-year-old grew up in Canterbury and went to the Frank Montgomery School, now the Spires Academy, in Hersden before becoming a professional news photographer.

His pictures show Mr Markle surfing the internet at a Mexican cafe looking at information about his 36-year-old daughter and her future husband Prince Harry, who is sixth in line to the British throne.

Others shows him apparently being measured for a suit and looking through a book of British landmarks. Another selection shows him working out in public by a rubbish dump.

Paparazzo Jeff Rayner is originally from Canterbury (Jeff Rayner, Facebook)

Newspapers and magazines around the world have published the pictures.

The deal to Mr Rayner’s photographic agency is understood to have been in the region of £100,000.

After they were published in the UK, Mr Rayner posted a picture on Facebook of the front page of The Sun and wrote: “‘Cheeky little hit in The Sun.”

But an investigation by reporters from the Mail on Sunday discovered that the photographs had been choreographed by Mr Rayner and Mr Markle.

The pair were caught on CCTV together at numerous locations in the town of Rosarito, Mr Markle’s adopted home 20 miles south of the American border.

Kensington Palace subsequently announced that he will no longer take part in the ceremony at Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoon. He had been due to walk his daughter down the isle.

Earlier, the Palace had urged media not to pursue or harass Mr Markle. Ms Markle has since pleaded for her father to attend the wedding.

Prince Harry, 33, is extremely sensitive to intrusions into his family’s lives following the death of his mother Princess Diana in Paris in 1997 after she had been pursued by photographers.

Wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Mr Rayner grew up in Canterbury where he developed an interest in photography.

He went on to do a three-year City and Guilds course at a college on the Isle of Thanet and a photography degree in Nottingham.

Afterwards, he found work with local news organisations before moving  to the national media and then securing a job with the internationally renowned picture agency Splash in Los Angeles.

In 2009 he formed the Coleman-Rayner agency with Mark Coleman, another British journalist.

Its website boasts: “We pride ourselves on original, accurate reporting coupled with fantastic photography.”

Mr Rayner declined to comment when approached by reporters at the weekend. Kensington Palace also refused to comment.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is overseeing the royal wedding on Saturday. He has already baptised Ms Markle, an actress who starred in the hit show Suits, into Anglicanism.

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