Doria flies in to the rescue
MEGHAN Markle’s mum, Doria Ragland, has bunkered down with her daughter in London, as chaos caused by the other side of the royal bride’s family escalated hours before the wedding of the year.
Ms Ragland, 61, arrived at London’s Heathrow airport from Los Angeles and was rushed through the VIP terminal by royal officials, before being driven away in a convoy.
She was taken straight to see her distraught daughter, who has been holed up for days at Kensington Palace as the clock ticks down to her wedding to Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
It was confirmed last night that Markle’s father Thomas would not walk his daughter down the aisle as he recovered from heart surgery.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” Markle said last night.
“I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you.”
Mr Markle, 73, said on Saturday he would not be at the wedding. Then he changed his mind and said he would fly to London — but pulled out again and checked in to a hospital. Yesterday, he revealed he had had three stents inserted, at a secret location. He lives in northern Mexico.
Unlike some in the extended Markle family, Meghan’s mother — a social worker and yoga teacher — has maintained a dignified silence about her daughter’s royal romance.
She is due to meet the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William and Cath- erine today. And it now seems likely she will also walk her daughter down the aisle.
Markle’s best friend, Toronto stylist Jessica Mulroney, has also arrived in London with her family to join the wedding party. Other guests close to the American actor bride include Aussie actor Jacinda Barrett and her husband, Gabriel Macht, the star of Suits — the TV drama that first made Markle famous.
Another Suits star on the guest list, Sarah Rafferty, has been pictured at Buckingham Palace taking photos.
They, too, are supporting Markle as she endures abuse from estranged relatives and erratic behaviour from her father. She is reported to be distraught about it all, with Prince Harry furious at the media circus around her family.
Markle’s estranged halfsister Samantha Grant, 53 — who has attacked her in seemingly endless interviews with the world’s media, pocketing huge fees for each — also ended up in hospital.
Her boyfriend claimed he swerved their car as he tried to avoid crashing into a photographer in Florida. The car hit a concrete barrier, causing Ms Grant, wheelchair-bound as a result of multiple sclerosis, to hit the windscreen and fall to the floor. She was reported to have a broken ankle.
Before that, Ms Grant spent yesterday again attacking Markle, accusing her of trying to shut her up. “She’s not going to tell me that I can’t speak about my life … She’s way out of her league to tell me that I can’t speak,’’ she said.
She had said her father, divorced from Ms Ragland 30 years ago, was “upset and alone’’ in hospital after checking in anonymously, and was “badly in need of help.’’
Markle’s half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr, who wrote an open letter to Prince Harry urging him to call the whole thing off, has now emerged in Britain saying he wrote that in a “moment of madness’’.
This week, he appeared on the front of the British tabloids, saying he now believed she would make “the perfect modern princess’’.
Doria Ragland (inset) arrives at Heathrow.