Meghan Markle has declared that her father won't be walking her down the aisle on Saturday as she embarks upon an exciting new chapter or her life with Prince Harry, and within the Royal family. A 'daddy’s girl’ at heart, Meghan is very close to father who believed in her acting dreams and invested “blood, sweat and tears” so she could pursue them.
Despite her independent disposition, it's unlikely that she'll walk down the aisle alone, so who else could be considered for the role?
In 1885, Queen Victoria accompanied her daughter Princess Beatrice when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg, so we are likely to see Meghan's mother Doria give her away; although it wouldn't be uncommon for either Prince Charles or Prince William to take on this responsibility either.
Meghan issued her first personal statement through Kensington Palace today;
"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."
Meghan Markle has always written tenderly about how her father Thomas is both thoughtful and inspiring; a former TV lighting director, who lives a quiet life in Mexico. He won two Emmys for his team’s work on General Hospital and was nominated for countless others.
Ms Markle is his only child from his second marriage to Doria Ragland. He has two older children from his first marriage to Roslyn Markle. Mr Markle, who is of Dutch and Irish descent, has been described by his soon-to-be royal daughter as hardworking and caring and believing in her “grand dream” of becoming an actress.
She has paid tribute previously to “the blood, sweat and tears this man (who came from so little in a small town of Pennsylvania, where Christmas stockings were filled with oranges, and dinners were potatoes and Spam) invested in my future so that I could grow up to have so much”.
Ms Markle added: “It’s safe to say I have always been a daddy’s girl – he taught me how to fish, to appreciate Busby Berkeley films, write thank-you notes, and spend my weekends in Little Tokyo eating chicken teriyaki with vegetable tempura.”
She recalled how one Christmas he created a Barbie family for her when they were only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. Her new collection of dolls had “a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family”. And when Ms Markle was confronted with a tick-box form to fill in at school about her ethnicity and found she did not fit into just one category, she revealed: “My dad said words that will stay with me forever: ‘Draw your own box.'”
The planning of a wedding can be an emotional time and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s is not the first royal one to run into difficulties as the big day approaches.
When Harry’s father the Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005, the wedding day went smoothly in the end. But the arrangements and technicalities of the wedding created a number of problems.
Charles and Camilla initially planned to wed at Windsor Castle, but were forced to switch venues to the Guildhall around the corner after it emerged that licensing the castle would have allowed members of the public to marry there as well.
The couple’s ceremony had to be slotted in ahead of three other brides and grooms getting married at the same venue.
Then the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh chose not to attend their son’s civil marriage service. The Queen, conscious of her role as supreme governor of the Church of England, was not present at the non-religious 20-minute service where the couple, both previously divorced, were married. But she did join the newlyweds afterwards for their televised blessing in the 15th-century St George’s Chapel in the grounds of nearby Windsor Castle, where Harry and Ms Markle are due to wed on Saturday.
The Queen gave a warm, witty speech at the evening reception in the castle’s State Apartments and, in a nod to the Grand National which ran that day, welcomed Charles and Camilla to the “winner’s enclosure”.
“They have overcome Becher’s Brook and The Chair and all kinds of other terrible obstacles,” she said. “They have come through and I’m very proud and wish them well. My son is home and dry with the woman he loves.”
Keep tuned in to see our live blog on the day of the wedding, and click here to see The Royal Wedding Collection