Meghan Markle all smiles with Prince Harry as couple arrive for Royal Wedding rehearsal… hours after she described heartbreak of dad missing her big day

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MEGHAN Markle beamed today as she arrived in Windsor with Prince Harry just hours after confirming her dad won't be coming to the Royal Wedding.

The loved-up pair were driven into the town this afternoon – with the bride-to-be looking in good spirits despite a rocky build up to their big day.

 The royal couple arriving in Windsor ahead of their weddingPeter Jordan The royal couple arriving in Windsor ahead of their wedding

The couple, who will tie the knot at St George's Chapel on Saturday, were seen arriving at Windsor Castle to rehearse the event that has largely been crowned the wedding of the year.

Meghan managed to stay cool despite having just hours before confirmed her father Thomas Markle would not be walking her down the aisle, saying that he instead needed to "focus on his health" after undergoing heart surgery.

What we know so far…

  • Meghan Markle today confirmed her dad would not be at her wedding as he continues to recover from major heart surgery
  • Thomas Markle had earlier said he wouldn’t be attending for fear of embarrassing Meghan and the royal family over staged paparazzi photos
  • The 73-year-old suffered a heart scare last week which he has reportedly blamed on an open letter by his son Tom Jr – who has since said he’s “mortified”
  • Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister, has slammed claims Kensington Palace is supporting their dad in hospital before she was injured in a car crash on Wednesday
  • Mr Markle backed Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland to give her away in his stead
  • Mum Doria is said to not be on speaking terms with her ex-husband, angry his family has been trashing Meghan
  • The bride’s best friend Jessica Mulroney jetted into London Heathrow with her kids
  • Kensington Palace announced that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be among the bridesmaids and page boys at the wedding
  • Elton John will reportedly perform at Meghan and Harry’s wedding

The 36-year-old bride-to-be, who had been left "tearful" over the wedding fiasco, had this afternoon released the extraordinary statement that appeared to be aimed at her own family, who had previously criticised her and Kensington Palace officials for not supporting her dad ahead of the big day.

In her emotionally-charged statement today, Meghan said: "I have always cared for my father."

WATCH LIVE: Huge crowds in Windsor as the town prepares for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle  The bride-to-be was seen just hours after confirming her dad would not be coming to the weddingPeter Jordan The bride-to-be was seen just hours after confirming her dad would not be coming to the wedding  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for Wedding rehearsals today in Windsor©Karwai Tang Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for Wedding rehearsals today in Windsor  Meghan arrived in Windsor this afternoon ready for the dress rehearsalPeter Jordan Meghan arrived in Windsor this afternoon ready for the dress rehearsal  Meghan smiled as she and Harry arrived in Windsor this afternoon©Karwai Tang Meghan smiled as she and Harry arrived in Windsor this afternoon

Meghan added: "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."

It is yet to be confirmed who will walk Meghan down the aisle, but it is widely believed the US actress will have her mum Doria Ragland by her side, with the yoga instructor mum having flown into London yesterday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also seen heading to the rehearsal, with it the first time since Kate Middleton has been seen since the birth of their third child Prince Louis.

 Prince William and Kate seen driving out of Kensington Palace today ahead of the Royal WeddingFlynet Pictures Prince William and Kate seen driving out of Kensington Palace today ahead of the Royal Wedding  Kate and William, who welcomed their third child Louis this year, were also seen heading to the rehearsalPeter Jordan Kate and William, who welcomed their third child Louis this year, were also seen heading to the rehearsal Meghan Markle confirms dad Thomas will NOT be at Royal Wedding

Meghan is surrounded by the Royal Family ahead of her big day, with her own father yet to meet his future in-laws, including the Queen.

Her mum is currently in London, having expected to have tea with her future in-laws today.

Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney has also been by the US actress' side this week, with the Canadian socialite's children among those announced to be bridesmaids and page boys during the ceremony.

Meghan's nephews and sister-in-law have also landed in the UK – despite not being invited to the wedding.

 Thomas Markle is expected to continue to recover from heart surgery over the next few daysThe Mega Agency Thomas Markle is expected to continue to recover from heart surgery over the next few days Rehearsals in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle TMZ reporter Sean Mandell says that Meghan Markle was left in tears over dad controversy  Meghan Markle released a statement today, saying her dad could not make it to the weddingAP:Associated Press Meghan Markle released a statement today, saying her dad could not make it to the wedding  Thomas Markle Sr, pictured with a young Meghan MarkleSplash News Thomas Markle Sr, pictured with a young Meghan Markle  Meghan Markle is said to be devastated that her dad will not be able to come to the weddingGetty – Contributor Meghan Markle is said to be devastated that her dad will not be able to come to the wedding

While Meghan joins the Royal Family in the wedding of the year this Saturday, her dad will remain in hospital recovering from emergency heart surgery.

She has endured constant criticism from her family, including half-sister Samantha, for not supporting their father – with Meghan's estranged family also unhappy they were not invited to the wedding.

Her 73-year-old dad had sparked chaos after going back and forth in his decision to attend the ceremony – having been left embarrassed after posing for staged paparazzi photos in a cash deal.

"Tearful" Meghan is said to have texted her dad, who lives in Mexico, to offer her love and support after the photoshoot – which he later described as "hammy" and "stupid".

Earlier today, a journalist for US website TMZ – which has published a number of exclusive interview with Thomas Sr this week – said the bride's father is likely to still be in hospital for the Royal Wedding.

Meghan Markle’s family – from dad Thomas and half-sister Samantha Grant to the nephews  Doria Ragland was pictured leaving her home in the US Doria Ragland was pictured leaving her home in the US  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot this SaturdayPA:Press Association Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot this Saturday  Meghan might walk down the aisle with her mum DoriaGetty – Contributor Meghan might walk down the aisle with her mum Doria

Reporter Sean Mandell, who spoke to Thomas Sr after his operation yesterday, also revealed Meghan's heartache that her father could not attend.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: "She is holding up, from what I've been told. It has been a tearful, at times, and a trying time for her."

He said that the dad had wanted to travel to the UK to the wedding, saying: "I do get the sense that he does want to be reunited with Meghan, because he told us that he wanted to be there.

"He had a change of heart on Tuesday of this week actually, that after speaking with Meghan over text that he felt that he had prematurely maybe made the decision to pull out of the wedding."

Thomas' absence from the wedding means that Doria will be the only direct family member of Meghan's at the wedding, with the bride's half-siblings not invited.

Despite not receiving invites, many of the Suits actress' family have jetted into the UK. 

 The household cavalry during the dress rehearsal for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleREUTERS The household cavalry during the dress rehearsal for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle  Rehearsals for the wedding of the year have already begunREUTERS Rehearsals for the wedding of the year have already begun  Meghan and Harry mania is already sweeping BritainJon Bond – The Sun Meghan and Harry mania is already sweeping Britain  Masks are already up for sale to celebrate the big dayBPM Media Masks are already up for sale to celebrate the big day  Posters and signs celebrating the wedding are decorating WindsorBPM Media Posters and signs celebrating the wedding are decorating Windsor

Sean said that Thomas had initially felt he didn't want to cause the royal family any further embarrassment, but added: "At the end of the day he realised, I'm a father, and I want to be there for my daughter, and I want to be part of history.

"Ultimately his health prevented him from being able to do that."

TMZ reporter Sean Mandell reveals Meghan Markle's dad will be in hospital for 'another few days'  He was caught posing for snaps which sold for £100kColeman-Rayner He was caught posing for snaps which sold for £100k  Photographs showed Meghan's dad exercising before the big dayColeman-Rayner Photographs showed Meghan's dad exercising before the big day  The father-of-the-bride was also photographed being fitted for a suit - with it later revealed as being stagedColeman-Rayner The father-of-the-bride was also photographed being fitted for a suit – with it later revealed as being staged

Thomas Markle has previously blamed his health woes on his son Thomas Markle Jr, saying that the open letter that his son wrote to Prince Harry – blasting the upcoming wedding as a "fake fairy tale" – had caused his heart attack.

Thomas Markle Jr has backtracked on his claims, overnight saying that his sister was the "best thing to happen to the royals".

Meghan's support system has since rushed to be by her side in the lead up to the wedding.

Her mum Doria yesterday landed in London, with the 61-year-old yoga instructor now tipped to walk Meghan down the aisle.

A source told the Sun: “Meghan is holding up OK but she has a lot on her plate.

“She doesn’t really know what to make of her dad’s behaviour. But she still loves him and is concerned for his health. It’s a very complicated situation but she’s really pleased to see her mum."

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