Do­ria flies in to the res­cue

Herald Sun - - HARRY & MEGHAN ROYAL WEDDING - ELLEN WHINNETT AND ANNABEL HEN­NESSY LON­DON ellen.whinnett@news.co.uk

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’’.

Pic­ture: SPLASH ME­DIA.

Do­ria Ragland (in­set) ar­rives at Heathrow.

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