Nothing’s going to spoil our big day!
After she issues an extraordinary statement insisting she’s always cared for her father, Meghan (flashing that ring) heads for wedding rehearsal with Harry
MEGHAN Markle yesterday put on a brave face after dramatically admitting her father will not walk her down the aisle tomorrow.
The royal bride-to-be was pictured smiling as she and Prince Harry were driven to their final wedding rehearsal at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
Ms Markle’s appearance – her first since the extraordinary drama erupted over her father’s participation in the ceremony – came just hours after an unprecedented statement in which she finally confirmed he would not be giving her away. The actress also appeared to reject criticism by her siblings that she had failed to do enough to support the reclusive Thomas Markle, saying she had ‘always cared’ for him.
And she pleaded for her 73-year-old father, who is recovering from heart surgery in Mexico after revelations about his alleged collusion with a paparazzi photographer, to be given ‘space’. In the statement, which she is said to have written herself, Ms Markle, 36, said: ‘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. I would like to thank eve
‘Looking forward to the next few days’
ryone 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.’
There was no confirmation from Kensington Palace about who will walk Ms Markle down the aisle tomorrow. That is expected later today. However, her mother, Doria Ragland, who will accompany her to the chapel and who is due to meet Queen Elizabeth today, is tipped for the role.
Amid criticism from some in the extended Markle family, sources close to Ms Markle yesterday insisted that she and Harry, 33, had offered both her parents substantial ‘support and advice’ as to how to handle the global interest since they started dating in 2016.
And friends told the Mail that contrary to claims by her half-siblings, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jnr, that she had left their intensely private father to deal with the paparazzi on his own, she had been in ‘frequent’ touch with him by phone and text, in recent days.
It is understood Mr Markle told his daughter personally that he would not be medically fit enough to fly to the UK.
It was claimed yesterday that he was recovering after having three stents implanted in arteries following a heart attack at home in Mexico eight days ago, and that he had said it would ‘take a long time to heal’. In return, Ms Markle was said to have told him that she loved him and supported him, regardless of the paparazzi photograph debacle.
Kensington Palace declined, however, to confirm when Ms Markle had last seen her father or when she planned to see him next. They were also unable to say when Prince Harry would meet his new father-in-law. Although the couple have been dating for two years, the prince has only ever spoken to him by phone.
Yesterday’s announcement came at the end of a truly remarkable few days, in which Kensington Palace was accused of failing to get a grip of the situation, leaving Thomas Markle to brief the US gossip website TMZ about his plans. Even Buckingham Palace courtiers have started looking at the website for the latest updates. But as the final preparations were put into place yesterday afternoon, Ms Markle and Harry appeared to be all smiles.
The couple attended their last wedding rehearsal at St George’s Chapel in Windsor with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are page boy and bridesmaid.
Ms Markle looked radiant despite the strain of the past week, wearing a white £285 (€326) Boss bodysuit and £7,000 (€8,021) Birks diamond earrings.
TMZ yesterday said it had again been in touch with Mr Markle.
Journalist Sean Mandell said Ms Markle’s father had told him: ‘It will take a long time to heal. I’m okay. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited.’
As for Meghan, Mr Mandell said it was clear she had been very upset by events. ‘Meghan was embarrassed and tearful in private,’ he said. ‘She is holding up, from what I’ve been told. It has been a tearful and a trying time.’
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘She [Meghan] called him Monday when the story first broke. But he did not have his phone on him and then she texted him, saying she loved him, that she was concerned over his health and bore him no ill will over the... fake photos.
‘He told us ‘he had originally felt it would be better for him not to be at the wedding because it would cause further embarrassment, he thought, for the Royal Family, and for Meghan.
‘He realised, “I’m a father, and I want to be there for my daughter, and I want to be part of history”. Ultimately his health prevented him from being able to do that.
‘From what Thomas has told me there’s just love being conveyed there and a gentle approach between them when they speak.’
Sadness: Meghan’s extraordinary statement yesterday
What a sparkler: Ms Markle dazzles in €8,000 Birks diamond earrings, circled