Meghan’s fa­ther wed­ding call-off

The Herald - - NEWS - TONY JONES

MEGHAN Markle has spo­ken of her sad­ness as she ended days of spec­u­la­tion and con­firmed her fa­ther will not walk her down the aisle when she mar­ries Prince Harry.

The US ac­tress said Thomas Markle, who has un­der­gone heart surgery, would not be at­tend­ing the wed­ding to­mor­row, a de­ci­sion taken on med­i­cal ad­vice.

Sources have said Meghan is con­cerned for her fa­ther, but is be­ing sup­ported by her mother and friends as she gets ready for her big day.

In a state­ment re­leased by Kens­ing­ton Palace, the bride-to-be 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 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.”

The reclu­sive for­mer TV light­ing di­rec­tor was em­broiled in con­tro­versy af­ter al­legedly be­ing caught stag­ing pho­to­graphs with the pa­parazzi.

He re­port­edly pulled out of at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony in

St Ge­orge’s Chapel to avoid em­bar­rass­ing his daugh­ter, but then later said be­fore his surgery that he wanted to be part of his­tory and hoped to be there, celebrity web­site TMZ re­vealed.

With the dra­matic up­set to the fairy-tale wed­ding com­ing just two days be­fore the cer­e­mony, Ms Markle will be bit­terly dis­ap­pointed her fa­ther will not be there.

Com­men­ta­tors have crit­i­cised what they claim is a lack of as­sis­tance pro­vided to Mr Markle from royal aides, but it is un­der­stood that since 2016 Meghan and Harry have been try­ing to help him cope with the grow­ing pres­sure of be­ing in the lime­light.

Ms Markle’s com­ment that she has al­ways “cared” for her fa­ther may be in­ter­preted by some as al­lud­ing to this pri­vate sup­port she, and Harry, have been giv­ing Mr Markle.

The ac­tress has al­ways wanted her fa­ther to be part of her nup­tials and she and the prince re­main in touch with him.

Mr Markle is un­der­stood to have told the cou­ple he can­not travel due to med­i­cal ad­vice.

There is no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion yet on who will step in to walk Meghan down the aisle in Wind­sor Cas­tle’s historic St Ge­orge’s Chapel, in front of a global tele­vi­sion au­di­ence of mil­lions.

Meghan’s mother, Do­ria Ragland, who has arrived in the UK ahead of the big day, is tipped for the role, or per­haps the bride will turn to her clos­est male friend, Soho House di­rec­tor Markus An­der­son.

Mean­while, Marks & Spencer is to be­come Markle & Sparkle for one week­end to cel­e­brate the royal wed­ding.

The Wind­sor branch of M&S is a fo­cus of the re-brand, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ex­pected to pass the store af­ter to­mor­row’s wed­ding. The store is fea­tur­ing a sparkly Markle & Sparkle fas­cia, with win­dows decked out in the colours of the Union flag.

„ Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry to­mor­row in historic St Ge­orge’s Chapel.

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