World ‘My fa­ther’s not com­ing’

The Southland Times - - Front Page -

Meghan Markle broke her si­lence yes­ter­day to speak of her sad­ness as she con­firmed that her fa­ther would not be at­tend­ing her wed­ding to Prince Harry to­day.

Af­ter four days of con­fu­sion over whether Thomas Markle Sr would walk her down the aisle she is­sued a state­ment that asked for him to be ‘‘given space’’ but also said that she was look­ing for­ward to her ‘‘spe­cial day’’.

The state­ment brought to an end the fevered spec­u­la­tion about Thomas Markle’s move­ments since he was said to have col­luded with a pho­tog­ra­pher to stage fake pa­parazzi pic­tures.

Since then Markle, 73, who lives in Mex­ico, has sup­pos­edly un­der­gone heart surgery, and changed his mind three times about whether he would at­tend the wed­ding at Wind­sor Cas­tle.

Yes­ter­day Meghan Markle, 36, took per­sonal con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion when she said in a state­ment: ‘‘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 ev­ery- one 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.’’

Meghan Markle is known to have been up­set by re­cent events, but sources have said that she is be­ing sup­ported by her mother and friends as she pre­pares for her big day. As one royal source said: ‘‘Satur­day is go­ing to be a glo­ri­ous and happy day.’’

She is un­der­stood to have is­sued the state­ment in her own words to em­pha­sise that the is­sue, which has been dis­sected at length in the me­dia, was a deeply per­sonal mat­ter in­volv­ing a fa­ther and daugh­ter.

It comes af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary few days where the only in­for­ma­tion was com­ing out of a US celebrity web­site, TMZ, and Kens­ing­ton Palace was re­fus­ing to say any­thing about what was happening, ei­ther in pub­lic or pri­vate.

The state­ment was fol­lowed hours later by the cou­ple’s ar­rival at Wind­sor Cas­tle for a wed­ding re­hearsal.

In the ab­sence of Thomas Markle, who was due to have walked his daugh­ter down the aisle at St Ge­orge’s Chapel, there has been strong spec­u­la­tion that his place will be taken by Meghan Markle’s mother, Do­ria Ragland, 61. She was al­ready due to per­form an im­por­tant role at the wed­ding by ac­com­pa­ny­ing the bride to St Ge­orge’s Chapel from the ho­tel where they are stay­ing on the night be­fore the wed­ding.

How­ever, it is un­der­stood that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were ‘‘talk­ing it through’’ and did not want to say im­me­di­ately who would per­form that vi­tal role. It is not known whether Ragland was also in Wind­sor for the re­hearsal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are both said to have spo­ken to Thomas Markle on the phone reg­u­larly in the past few days. The bride-to-be has not wa­vered in her de­sire that she would like her fa­ther to walk her down the aisle. How­ever, she has also been care­ful when talk­ing to him not to put him un­der any fur­ther pres­sure. In­stead of plead­ing for him to come, she has con­cen­trated on ask­ing him how he was and what has been happening.

‘‘Their fo­cus has al­ways been on pro­vid­ing sup­port for him,’’ a source said. ‘‘She ob­vi­ously cares about his wel­fare.’’

Meghan Markle de­cided to is­sue her state­ment only when the sit­u­a­tion was def­i­nite and all un­cer­tainty had been re­moved from her mind.

The me­dia firestorm sur­round­ing Thomas Markle in Mex­ico has prompted ac­cu­sa­tions, in­clud­ing from his daugh­ter Sa­man­tha, that he has been left ex­posed by Kens­ing­ton Palace.

Sources have said that the palace has pro­vided ad­vice and practical sup­port on the ground to Thomas Markle, a for­mer TV light­ing di­rec­tor who de­clared him­self bank­rupt in 2016. How­ever, it is not clear what form that practical sup­port took.

One ex­pe­ri­enced royal reporter pointed out that Thomas Markle and Ragland, who has been pho­tographed a num­ber of times but with­out sig­nif­i­cant up­set or em­bar­rass­ment, would have been of­fered the same ad­vice and sup­port.

It has still not been con­firmed whether Thomas Markle has had heart surgery. TMZ has quoted him say­ing that doc­tors were go­ing to ‘‘clear block­age, re­pair dam­age and put a stent where it is needed.’’ There has been no in­de­pen­dent cor­rob­o­ra­tion, and Kens­ing­ton Palace has re­fused to give any guid­ance. – The Times The Se­nate con­firmed Gina Haspel yes­ter­day as the first fe­male di­rec­tor of the CIA fol­low­ing a dif­fi­cult nom­i­na­tion process that re­opened de­bate about brutal in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques in one of the dark­est chap­ters in the spy agency’s his­tory. The 54-45 vote split both par­ties, with six Democrats join­ing most Repub­li­cans in sup­port. It was the clos­est vote for a CIA nom­i­nee in nearly seven decades, since the law was changed to re­quire Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion. Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., steered the con­fir­ma­tion swiftly past op­po­nents, in­clud­ing Repub­li­can Se­na­tor John McCain, whose re­jec­tion of the nom­i­nee over her role in the CIA’s tor­ture pro­gramme hung over an im­pas­sioned de­bate. Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad made a sur­prise visit to Russia to meet Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin yes­ter­day at his sum­mer res­i­dence in the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi. The Krem­lin quoted As­sad as say­ing that Syria is mak­ing progress in fight­ing ‘‘ter­ror­ism,’’ which ‘‘opens the door to the po­lit­i­cal process.’’ Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said As­sad in­formed the Rus­sian leader of his de­ci­sion to ‘‘send a del­e­ga­tion to the UN’’ to dis­cuss re­form­ing the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion. The UN has hosted sev­eral rounds of peace talks in Geneva that have made no progress to­wards end­ing the con­flict. As­sad con­firmed he will send a list of can­di­dates as soon as pos­si­ble to the United Na­tions, for mem­ber­ship in a com­mit­tee that would dis­cuss the con­sti­tu­tion.

AP

Peo­ple spend the night out­side Wind­sor Cas­tle on Thurs­day. Prepa­ra­tions con­tinue in Wind­sor ahead of the royal wed­ding of Bri­tain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to­day.

AP

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are both said to have spo­ken to Thomas Markle on the phone reg­u­larly in the past few days.

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