THE royal wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle takes place on May 19 at St George’s Chapel, in Windsor Castle.
All eyes will be on the 36-year-old as she walks down the aisle to marry her prince. Here’s the lowdown on who will be by her side, following reports that her father has pulled out…
Getty – Contributor Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed on May 19
Who will give Meghan Markle away?
After much speculation surrounding who will give the bride away on her big day, Kensington Palace finally confirmed that the duty would be performed by her father Thomas.
The 73-year-old is a retired Emmy-award winning lighting director, who worked on shows such as General Hospital.
He is said to be a private person, living in New Mexico, and it was previously unclear whether he would walk his daughter down the aisle.
At one point Prince William was touted as a possible stand-in for the role.
But Meghan’s father was officially confirmed as attending and taking on the important task.
Splash News Meghan is said to be close to her dad
A statement from the palace shed more light on the details of the big day.
It said: “Both of the bride’s parents will have important roles in the wedding.
“On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle.
“Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St George’s Chapel.
“Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.”
The release added the pair would fly into London ahead of the ceremony to meet with the royals.
The statement added: “The first thing I would like to share is that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms. Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding.
Meghan’s mum Doria will be by her side
“Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland will be arriving in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry’s family, including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day.”
However, on May 14, US media reported that he had been struck down by a heart problem and pulled out of the ceremony after realising he might be too ill to make the trip.
The shocking revelation has come just days before the wedding, when Mr Markle Snr was due to fly in to meet his new son-in-law.
Along with his health problems, it is thought a staged deal for photos with a paparazzi agency has complicated the issue.
Kensington Palace issued this statement on the latest development: “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”
But in a further twist Thomas then told TMZ that he DOES want to attend the wedding – although his doctors might not let him travel due to recent health scares.
In an apparent U-turn, he said: “I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle”.
If he does not make the wedding Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland – who could be her only close family to attend – may step in.
Splash News Meghan’s dad was expected to meet the Queen before the big day
Why does the father of the bride walk his daughter down the aisle?
Weddings are steeped in history and tradition.
Some things, such as a dowry, have fallen out of favour, while brides wearing white on their big day is still going strong.
Fathers usually walked their daughters down the aisle as previously, unwed women were the property of their dad.
Typically marriages were arranged, so a father would pick a suitable man for his daughter, and the dowry essentially signified payment for the woman.
The father would take his daughter and hand her over to her husband-to-be, as she effectively changed ownership from her father to her husband.