Meghan Markle confirms father will not attend royal wedding
LONDON – Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father will not be attending her wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry the week after he was vilified by U.K. media.
“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,” Markle said in a statement through the royals’ Kensington Palace Thursday morning .
“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.”
Thomas Markle, a 73-year-old former Hollywood lighting director who lives in California, had flipped back and forth as to whether he would make it to Windsor, outside London, to walk his daughter down the aisle.
His original plans to do so took a hit last weekend when he became embroiled in a scandal for working with a photographer to pose for pictures being measured for a suit and reading up on British landmarks, with the pictures later sold for tens of thousands of dollars.
Markle admitted to the ploy and said he was tired of being portrayed as slovenly by the U.K. tabloid press such as the Daily Mail, which regularly pays for paparazzi photos and had been hounding him in anticipation of the wedding.
A man looks at a souvenir shop in Windsor with memorabilia for the royal wedding. (Frank Augstein/AP)
As the debacle reignited debate about the strained relationship between the British royals and the press, the father decided that he in fact could not fly to England because of heart surgery on Wednesday.
He told TMZ on Wednesday had gone well but required a multiple day hospital stay.
It is not immediately clear who could walk the bride down the aisle, though suggestions have included that her mother Doria Ragland, divorced from her father and much closer to the couple, could take the duty.
Though royal weddings adhere to a very traditional format, it would not be the first time a mother of the bride walked her to take her vows.
Queen Victoria walked her two daughters down the aisle in 1866 and 1885 after the death of her husband Prince Albert, according to the BBC.