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

Irish Daily Mail - - One Day To Go ... - By Re­becca English news@dai­ly­

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

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