I’VE AL­WAYS CARED FOR DAD

Meghan Markle breaks si­lence

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - ANNABEL HEN­NESSY LON­DON

ROYAL bride-to-be Meghan Markle has bro­ken her si­lence over her con­tro­ver­sial fa­ther, con­firm­ing last night he would not at­tend her wed­ding to Prince Harry to­mor­row.

Thomas Markle (left) will not be at the Wind­sor Cas­tle cer­e­mony, a per- sonal state­ment is­sued by Kens­ing­ton Palace said. “I have al­ways cared for my fa­ther and hope he can be given the space he needs to fo­cus on his health,’’ Ms Markle said in the state­ment.

Her 73-year-old dad is re­cov­er­ing in Mex­ico af­ter heart surgery fol­low­ing days of spec­u­la­tion about walk­ing his daugh­ter down the aisle.

The palace an­nounce­ment comes as Ms Markle’s mother Do­ria Ragland and the ac­tor’s Suits co-stars ar­rived in Eng­land for the wed­ding.

BRITAIN is get­ting ready for the party of the year for to­mor­row’s royal wed­ding, with fans plan­ning ev­ery­thing from street par­ties to royal-themed hot spa boat rides.

Ho­tels and pubs across Britain are pre­par­ing to cash in on Prince Harry mar­ry­ing Meghan Markle by screen­ing the cer­e­mony live and en­cour­ag­ing royal dress-up com­pe­ti­tions and sweeps.

Aussies liv­ing in Britain are get­ting in on the ac­tion, with Aus­tralian ex­pats telling the Her­ald Sun they will dress up and hold par­ties of their own.

Rohan John­ston, 31, orig­i­nally from Coffs Har­bour in New South Wales but now liv­ing in Shored­itch, Lon­don, has booked out his favourite pub — The Ken­ton in Hack­ney — for the wed­ding.

He will throw a party for 45 of his Aussie mates. The group has hired a pro­jec­tor to screen the wed­ding.

They are also play­ing sweeps on the guest list, with bets on whether the Queen will be dressed in blue and who will be wear­ing the most ridicu­lous hat — with most bets go­ing to Princess Beatrice.

“I think the lo­cals find it a bit weird that we’re so into it but when­ever there’s a big royal event we go all out,” Mr John­ston said.

“I’ve been keep­ing track of all the sto­ries and fol­low­ing all the royal In­sta­gram pages since mov­ing here.

“It’s kind of a nov­elty and I want to em­brace ev­ery­thing.’’

Bek Melle­font, a 27-yearold from Syd­ney, is help­ing Rohan or­gan­ise the bash and said she had been swept up in royal fever since mov­ing to Lon­don.

“I’m re­ally en­joy­ing the fam­ily drama of Meghan’s crazy rel­a­tives,” Ms Melle­font said.

“We might not nec­es­sar­ily al­ways agree with the whole monar­chy but it is ex­cit­ing we’re here while the wed­ding is on and we can have fun with it.’’

Bars across Lon­don have cre­ated royal-themed cock­tails to get into fes­tiv­i­ties.

Night­clubs are also em­brac­ing the royal ma­nia, with Beth­nal Green Work­ing Men’s Club hold­ing a risqué “hen’s night” for Markle the night be­fore the wed­ding.

Pubs will also stay open for an ex­tra hour — un­til 1am — and lo­cal coun­cils have scratched the usual charges on road clo­sures for street par­ties.

The BBC also has waived its li­cens­ing fees to en­cour­age peo­ple to screen the wed­ding.

Val­u­a­tion firm Brand Fi­nance fore­casts par­ties and events held on the day will in­ject $450 mil­lion into the Bri­tish econ­omy.

In a novel idea, North Lon­don brand Ho­tug will ferry peo­ple in its fire-pow­ered hot spa boats across the River Thames in Wind­sor as the cer­e­mony takes place.

Even Lon­don’s an­nual Big Day Out mu­sic fes­ti­val will screen the ser­vice and has cre­ated a “Queen’s Tav­ern” where they are ex­pect­ing about 6000 peo­ple to turn up.

For a more gen­teel ex­pe­ri­ence, the nup­tials will be screened in some churches, in­clud­ing for­mer church One Maryle­bone, where their event will in­clude cor­sage mak­ing and cake-dec­o­rat­ing con­tests.

Manetta’s Bar in May­fair will be serv­ing a Wind­sor Fizz — a drink made of bour­bon and hi­bis­cus, in­fused with English break­fast tea and gar­nished with 24 karat gold.

Other su­per fans will en­joy the day at Prince Charles’s High­grove House in Glouces­ter­shire, which has sold out tick­ets to its cham­pagne high tea and gar­den tour.

Aussies at a gar­den party in East Lon­don: (back row) Yas­min Mouf­takir, 27, Brit­ney Maun­der, 26 and Linda Gao, 27, and (front row) Louisa Sim, 30, Bec Lantry, 21, El­iza Davies, 26. Lit­tle Delilah Schofield flies the flag (be­low left); and the St Ge­orge’s Chapel Choir re­hearses for the big event (be­low right). Jes­sica Mul­roney ar­rives at Heathrow air­port (above right); and Jacinda Bar­rett and Gabriel Macht (in­set right). Pic­tures: DAVID DYSON, AUS­TRALSCOPE

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