Meghan Markle arrives in Windsor for tea with the Queen and mum Doria ahead of the Royal Wedding

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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 the rocky build up to the wedding of the year.

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

Meghan managed to appear calm despite having just hours earlier 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.

The Royal Wedding plans were this week thrown into chaos when Meghan's 73-year-old dad went back and forth in his decision to attend the ceremony – having been left embarrassed after posing for staged paparazzi photos in a cash deal.

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

While Meghan reportedly begged her father to attend, saying that she still loved him and simply wanted him to be at the ceremony, her dad, who lives in Mexico, eventually pulled out after yesterday's operation.

The 36-year-old bride-to-be released a statement this afternoon to confirm the news, appearing to take aim at her own family, who had previously criticised her and Kensington Palace officials for not supporting her dad ahead of the big day, saying: "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 were driven to Windsor this afternoon©Karwai Tang Meghan smiled as she and Harry were driven to Windsor this afternoon

In her emotionally-charged statement today, Meghan, who was said to have been left "tearful" over the wedding fiasco, said: "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 give Meghan away in her wedding to Prince Harry, 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.

 Prince William and Kate were seen driving out of Kensington Palace today ahead of the Royal WeddingFlynet Pictures Prince William and Kate were 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

But despite the tumultuous few days, Meghan managed to smile as she arrived at Windsor today, sitting beside her serious-faced fiance Prince Harry.

Her future in-laws, 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.

Meghan's dad is yet to meet the Royal Family himself, having not even met his daughter's fiancé Harry.

Meghan's mum Doria was today expected to have tea with her future in-laws, having already reportedly hit it off with Prince Harry when they met while the couple were dating.

Friends have also flown into the UK to support the Suits star, ready to help in the final days before the wedding.

Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney arrived this week, with the Canadian socialite's children among those announced to be bridesmaids and page boys during the ceremony.

But other arrivals were not so expected, with Meghan's estranged family members, including her nephews and sister-in-law also landing 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 with a young Meghan MarkleSplash News Thomas Markle Sr with a young Meghan Markle  Meghan is said to be devastated that her dad will not be able to come to the weddingGetty – Contributor Meghan is said to be devastated that her dad will not be able to come to the wedding

Meghan 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.

Samantha Markle lashed out overnight, saying that she had even been forced to wire Thomas Markle cash to survive.

The American had previously taken the blame for the staged paparazzi shots, which Thomas Sr 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 had been hopeful of attending the wedding but would be prevented by his ill-health.

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 added: "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.

 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 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

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."

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.

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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.

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