Markle clan de­scend on UK

THE WED­DING

The West Australian - - THE ROYAL WEDDING - Ellen Whin­nett and Annabel Hen­nessy Lon­don

Meghan Markle’s mother Do­ria Ragland was by her daugh­ter’s side in Lon­don yes­ter­day as chaos caused by her fa­ther’s side of the fam­ily es­ca­lated hours ahead of her wed­ding to Prince Harry.

Ms Ragland, 61, arrived at Heathrow Air­port and was rushed through the Wind­sor VIP ter­mi­nal by royal of­fi­cials be­fore be­ing driven away in a con­voy of cars with blacked­out win­dows.

She was taken straight to see her 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 at Wind­sor to­mor­row.

The bride’s best friend, Toronto stylist Jes­sica Mul­roney, also arrived in Lon­don yes­ter­day, with her hus­band Ben and their chil­dren, twins Brian and John, 7, and daugher Ivy, 4 — who will be page boys and a flower girl at to­mor­row’s wed­ding.

Ms Markle, 36, has been sub­jected to crit­i­cism from es­tranged fam­ily mem­bers, and er­ratic be­hav­iour from her fa­ther Thomas Markle, who an­nounced on Mon­day he would not be walk­ing his daugh­ter down the aisle.

Mr Markle, 73, con­tin­ued to talk to celebrity web­site TMZ in Amer­ica yes­ter­day, re­veal­ing he had three stents inserted in a heart pro­ce­dure at a se­cret hos­pi­tal lo­ca­tion in the US or Mex­ico.

He shocked his daugh­ter on Mon­day by say­ing he wouldn’t come to Lon­don, then changed his mind and said he would, then pulled out again and checked him­self into hos­pi­tal.

Last night, Ms Markle is­sued a state­ment con­firm­ing he Mr Markle would not be at the wed­ding.

“Sadly, my fa­ther will not be at­tend­ing our wed­ding,” she said. “I have al­ways cared for my fa­ther and hope he can be given the space he needs to fo­cus on his health.

“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 on Satur­day.”

Ms Markle’s es­tranged half­sis­ter Sa­man­tha Grant, 53, who has been vi­ciously at­tack­ing her in the press, has also ended up in hos­pi­tal with a bro­ken an­kle, her boyfriend claim­ing he crashed their car as he tried to avoid a pa­parazzi pho­tog­ra­pher.

And her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr, who had writ­ten an open let­ter to Prince Harry urg­ing him to call the wed­ding off, has emerged in the UK, show­ing up at Wind­sor and say­ing he wrote the nasty note in a “mo­ment of mad­ness”.

He ap­peared on the front of the Bri­tish tabloids, say­ing that he had changed his mind and now be­lieved Meghan would make “the per­fect mod­ern princess”.

In Wind­sor, the royal town west of Lon­don, royal en­thu­si­asts are al­ready sleep­ing on the foot­path ready for a fron­trow seat to to­mor­row’s nup­tials, while bunting and ban­ners have gone up across the town.

But as the count­down to what should have been the ul­ti­mate fairy­tale wed­ding con­tin­ued, Kens­ing­ton Palace of­fi­cials were try­ing to pro­tect Ms Markle from the fall­out of her es­tranged fam­ily’s ac­tions.

Mr Markle Sr, who was re­vealed on Sun­day to have been col­lab­o­rat­ing with celebrity pho­tog­ra­phers to stage fake pictures, said he had needed heart surgery af­ter the ac­tions of his chil­dren from his first mar­riage, Thomas Jr and Sa­man­tha, trig­gered a heart at­tack. Pictures: Con­stant Me­dia, AP, Getty Images

“I’m OK. It will take a long time to heal,” he re­port­edly told web­site TMZ. “Stay­ing in the hos­pi­tal a few more days. Not al­lowed to get ex­cited.”

Ms Grant yes­ter­day at­tacked Ms Markle, ac­cus­ing her of try­ing to shut her up and declar­ing: “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”.

The royal fam­ily went out of their way to smooth Ms Ragland’s ar­rival in Bri­tain, tak­ing an im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cial to stamp her pass­port and col­lect­ing her from the air­craft in a Jaguar from the royal fleet.

Jes­sica Mul­roney ar­rives at Heathrow with her hus­band Ben, twins Brian and John, 7, and daugh­ter Ivy, 4.

Fans out­side Wind­sor Cas­tle.

A pub at Wind­sor.

The chapel choir re­hearses..

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