Markle clan descend on UK
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..