(CNN)Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding has been overshadowed by her father's reported decision not to attend, but another relation is emerging as a player in the royal drama.
Samantha Markle, Meghan's half-sister, emerges as player in royal drama
Meghan's half-sister Samantha Markle made headlines this week after she said their father, Thomas Markle, would not attend the wedding on Saturday because of embarrassment over a series of staged photographs, which she encouraged him to take.
Since then he's reportedly changed his mind about attending the ceremony more than once, and now seems set to miss it to undergo scheduled heart surgery.
In recent days, Samantha Markle has given a series of television interviews and earned the moniker of media "vulture" from "Good Morning Britain" host Piers Morgan.
A child from Thomas Markle's first marriage, Samantha Markle is a 53-year-old mother of three and a former actress and model who lives in Florida. She uses a wheelchair because she suffers from multiple sclerosis, according to a report in the UK's Sun newspaper.
Seventeen years older than Meghan, Samantha Markle has claimed she raised her half-sister for 12 years when they were growing up in California, but that has been disputed by other family sources, the report added.
The elder half-sister is also known as Samantha Grant, but recently changed her name back to Markle, according to the Guardian.
Described in the British media as "estranged" from her half-sibling, Samantha Markle has said she has not met the royal bride-to-be for a decade. In recent interviews she said that she last spoke to Meghan by phone three or four years ago.
Samantha Markle first made news in 2016 when she told the Sun her sister had long had her eye set on Prince Harry because she was ambitious to become a princess and had a "soft spot for gingers."
Since then she has regularly commented on the forthcoming marriage, criticizing Meghan for not inviting her and other family members to the wedding and not offering financial help to her reportedly bankrupt father. She has also rebutted Prince Harry's claim that the royal family were "the family (Meghan) never had."
But she has also praised Meghan for her intelligence and beauty and criticized her brother -- Meghan's half-brother -- Thomas Markle, Jr., for telling Prince Harry in an open letter that if the marriage goes ahead it will be the biggest mistake of his life.
Samantha Markle is reportedly writing an autobiography titled "The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister," which will include details about about her half-sister. British media reports say she will be in Windsor for the wedding as a guest of a television broadcaster.