Royal wedding: Bride’s dad steals show
Meghan Markle’s father overshadowed his daughter’s wedding to Prince Harry by sowing confusion about whether he would walk her down the aisle or snub the British royal family by pulling out of the intricately planned celebration at the last minute.
As royal fans convened on this genteel English town, where Harry is due to wed the American actress on Saturday, the role of her father, Thomas Markle, was still unclear after he issued a flurry of statements to an American showbiz website.
On Monday, he was reported by the Los Angeles-based TMZ to be unable to attend due to a heart attack and embarrassment over staged pictures with a paparazzi photographer.
But the same website said on Tuesday that he had changed his mind and would be part of history.
TMZ later quoted him as saying the trip was off due to his need for immediate heart surgery.
Still later, TMZ reported that Markle was out of surgery.
The website said it had spoken to Markle and that “he seemed alert and coherent, telling us that his doctors implanted stents in his blood vessels.”
It was not known when he would be out of the hospital.
Markle, who lives in Mexico, had been due to walk his daughter down the aisle on May 19 in front of 600 guests including all the senior British royals and a smattering of celebrities.
Britain’s Sun newspaper, the country’s best-selling, had to scramble to update its front page to reflect what it called the “Royal Sensation” of Markle’s absence under the headline: “I’ve got heart op today.”
It offered four pages of analysis.
“It must be heartbreaking for them, because her father can’t come because he is in poor health,” said 46-year-old Maria Scott, who had traveled from Newcastle to get a glimpse of the couple.
“It must be really upsetting but I’m sure her mum will do a fine job,” Scott said.
Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth and sixth in line to the throne, and Meghan, a star in the US TV drama “Suits,” will tie the knot at Windsor Castle, home to the British royal family for nearly 1,000 years.
On Windsor’s streets, hundreds of tourists and journalists mingled with dedicated royals fans—some draped in United Kingdom flags and holding photographs of Harry and Meghan—while armed policemen patrolled.
Some fans are sleeping out on the street until the wedding, seeking to secure the best positions to see the couple.
“I want them to come through those gates. I want themto look at me, wave and smile,” said Donna Werner, who flew more than 4,800 kilometers from New Fairfield, Connecticut, to be in Windsor.
“That will make it all worthwhile. It really will,” said Werner, 66, camped outside Windsor Castle and dressed head to toe in a mix of British and US flag-themed attire, including a shirt that read, “Prince Harry, I’m still available. Last chance!”
Windsor was decorated with swathes of red, white and blue Union Jack flags.
Stalls sold Harry and Meghan scarves for $20.
More than 100,000 people were expected to descend on the town on Saturday.
They will have to clear airport-style security procedures before being allowed near the main venue, said Jim Weems, the police’s tactical commander for the wedding day.
Britain is on its second-highest threat level of severe, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
Last year, 36 people died in four attacks.
Despite the tight security, Weems said there was no particular threat against the wedding.
“There’s no intelligence to support that this event is going to be particularly targeted,” he said.
From a blind date
Harry, 33, a former Army officer and one-time royal wild child, met his brideto-be on a blind date in July 2016 after being set up by a mutual friend.
Beyond the pomp of a royal wedding, which enthralls millions, the union marries the Hollywood glamour of Meghan with one of the royal family’s most popular members.
As a divorcee, with a white father and an African-American mother, Meghan’s background has provided a source of huge interest and comment, not all positive.—
TYING THE KNOT Wax figures of Prince Harry and his bride-to-be, Meghan Markle, serve as selfie background near Windsor Castle, where the couple will wed on May 19.—