Royal wedding: Bride’s dad steals show

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD -

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.

Con­flict­ing re­ports

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.

Fans’ sen­ti­ments

“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.

Fa­nati­cism

“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.

Air­port-style se­cu­rity

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.—

AFP

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.—

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