Image: via Getty

As May 19 approaches, the royal wedding news cycle is accelerating as relentlessly as the Gravitron at a county fair, its centrifugal force damn near flinging my brains onto the ceiling. Today we learn that Meghan Markle is related to a man alleged to be Jack the Ripper, and also that her father may not be attending after all, following the revelation that he cooperated with paparazzi to stage all those shots of him comically reading a book about Great Britain in a coffee shop window.

Let’s start with Jack the Ripper, which really sets the tone for today’s royal news. This unbelievable—as in, I literally do not believe it and nothing you say would convince me so don’t try—claim comes via the Daily Mail, reporting on one of the umpteen million TV specials about the upcoming wedding. It’s viral news so perfect (and perfectly stupid) that I’m shocked it isn’t a plant by our colleagues at Clickhole:

The Mail says the claim comes via American lawyer Jeff Mudgett, a descendent of Holmes who believes he was also the Ripper:

Mr Mudgett told the Channel 4 documentary Meet The Markles: ‘We did a study with the FBI and CIA and Scotland Yard regarding handwriting analysis.

‘It turns out [Holmes] was Jack the Ripper. This means Meghan is related to Jack the Ripper.’

He said of the Markle link: ‘I don’t think the Queen knows. I am not proud he is my ancestor. Meghan won’t be either.’

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Tenuous at best, but that is not going to stop the Daily Mail when it offers the opportunity for this side-by-side comparison:

Unfortunately for Harry and Meghan and also the structural integrity of my skull, this is not the day’s only royal wedding news. This weekend, news broke—in the Mail on Sunday, naturally—that all those charming but alarmingly invasive paparazzi shots of Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, were in fact staged. Extremely risky move when your future son-in-law cannot stand the paparazzi. Samantha Grant, Meghan’s drama-monger of a half sister, then stepped forward to claim that it was in fact her idea. Via People:

“I have to say I am entirely the culprit,” Samantha said during an appearance on British talk show Loose Women on Monday. “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, 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.”

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And now, TMZ says that Thomas Markle won’t be walking his daughter down the aisle or even attending the wedding:

Thomas Markle tells TMZ, he meant no harm to Meghan or the Royal Family when he made a deal to allow a photo agency to take pics of him getting ready for the wedding. He says he had a reason and it was not principally about money.

Markle tells us over the last year he’s been ambushed by paparazzi who have photographed him in the most unflattering circumstances ... buying beer, looking disheveled and reclusive. He’s especially upset that they made him look like a lush. Thomas says he doesn’t even drink beer ... he was buying it for the guards at the place where he lives.... Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money — though nowhere near the reported $100k — and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image.

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In fact, he told TMZ that just six days ago he had a heart attack.

Meanwhile Kensington Palace is starting to sound a little thisisfinedog.jpg on Twitter, posting a peek inside the kitchens at Windsor Castle with hints about the contents of the wedding menu.

Becoming a princess ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.