Prince Charles to Walk Meghan Markle Down the Aisle

She announced Thursday that her father would not attend the wedding Saturday

What to Know

  • Thomas Markle recently suffered a reported heart attack and his daughter asked for him to be given space to recover
  • Some had suggested that Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, would accompany her daughter at St. George's Chapel
  • But Markle is not the first soon-to-be member of the Royal Family to be walked down the aisle by someone other than her father

Prince Charles will escort Meghan Markle down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry Saturday, Kensington Palace said in a statement Friday. 

"Ms. Meghan Markle has asked His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to accompany her down the aisle of the Quire of St. George's Chapel on her Wedding Day," the statement said. "The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way." 

Markle had announced Thursday that her father, Thomas Markle, would not attend the wedding. 

Thomas Markle recently suffered a reported heart attack and his daughter in a statement asked for him to be "given the space he needs to focus on his health." 

"I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support," she added. "Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

Additionally, Buckingham Palace said Friday the Duke of Edinburgh will attend the royal wedding — just a few weeks after undergoing a hip replacement operation.

The 96-year-old Philip has largely retired from public duties and it had not been clear whether he would be feeling well enough to attend.

It was also confirmed Friday Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh met with Markle's mother Doria Ragland at Windsor Castle.

The decision to have Charles accompany Markle comes after feverish speculation about who would have the honor after the bride announced that her father wouldn't attend because of poor health. The bookies had suggested that Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, was the favorite.

Unlike Ragland, Harry's father has a lifetime of experience in appearing at large-scale public events amid intense scrutiny.

Though some Royal wedding fans camped outside Windsor Castle had expected Ragland to walk her daughter down the aisle, they expressed happy surprise at Prince Charles' plans.

Roseline Morris, a 35-year-old from Basildon, points out that Charles doesn't have a daughter. "So he's never going to get the chance to walk a daughter down the aisle, so this will be nice for him as well." she said. "I imagine he'll be feeling very proud."

Sylvia Horn, 61, from Nashville, called the decision "wonderful."

She added that "I fully approve since Charles is going to be her father-in-law."

Having the father of the groom take the honor offers yet another twist in a royal wedding that is proving to be different than many others. Normally such occasions are choreographed to the second — and replete with tradition.

But things began to unravel last week after it emerged that Thomas Markle allegedly staged paparazzi photos in what celebrity website TMZ said was an effort to improve his image and show him to be a loving father preparing for the big day.

Speaking from Windsor, TMZ's Sean Mandell told the BBC that the father was hurt by negative headlines and inaccurate portrayals.

"He was trying to explain his side of things - that him working with the paparazzi for those staged photos was an attempt to recast his image to show him as a loving father who was getting ready for his daughter's wedding, and not as a reclusive lush."

Markle is not the first soon-to-be member of the Royal Family to be walked down the aisle by someone other than her father. In 1960, Prince Phillip walked Princess Margaret down the aisle in place of her late father when she married Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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