TRADITION has it that the father of the bride “gives her away” to her husband in one of the most poignant moments at any wedding ceremony.
But following reports that Thomas Markle won’t be seeing the moment his daughter Meghan gets hitched to Prince Harry, we take a look at who the likely alternatives are.
PA:Press Association Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot in May
Who will walk Meghan down the aisle?
Thomas Markle confirmed he would walk his daughter down the aisle on May, 19.
But, on May 14, US media reported Meghan’s father would not be attending as he was suffering health problems.
That news came shortly after he admitted accepting money to pose for paparazzi pictures in the run up to the big day.
In a further twist Thomas then told TMZ that he DID want to attend the wedding – although admitted his doctors might not let him travel due to recent health scares.
He said: “I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle.”
However, the US outlet later reported that his hopes were in vain, with Meghan’s dad set to undergo heart surgery.
Admitting his attendance on the big day was now “impossible”, he said: “They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed.”
Here is who could fill the role if her dad doesn’t make the big day:
Meghan’s mother Doria could fill the role as she is known to get on well with her daughter and her husband to be.
She is already expected to travel in the car to the church with Meghan on her big day and was also present at the closing ceremony of last year’s Invictus Games.
However it was earlier reported that the Royal family were not keen on having a woman fill the traditionally male role.
Instagram Doria could be a candidate to walk her daughter down the aisle
Prince Charles has no other official duty during the wedding, and he and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have been very welcoming to Meghan.
He’s even hosting the couple’s evening wedding reception at Frogmore House.
Prince William could also fill in the role in a move which has some royal precedent.
When Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, her brother-in-law Prince Philip walked her down the aisle, as her father, King George VI, had passed away.
But given that William is already Harry’s best man, he would traditionally be otherwise occupied during the day.
Reuters Prince William could step into the role his grandfather filled for his great aunt Princess Margaret at her wedding
Prince Philip may also have been an option but given his recent hip replacement it may be unlikely he will be given a duty which involves quite so much walking.
His attendance at the wedding itself has also yet to be confirmed, although his appearance at the Windsor Horse Show has raised hopes.
Meghan could opt to walk down the aisle by herself, but given the traditional nature of the ceremony this is possibly the least likely scenario.
What is the tradition?
Normally, the father of the bride walks his daughter down the aisle.
This is due to the old-fashioned tradition of “giving his daughter away”, but is still observed in modern ceremonies.
The father should remain on his daughter’s left side, as the bridegroom is supposed to be her “right hand man”.
Traditional wording at a wedding is for the father to be asked: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
And the usual response is “I do” but more recently answers such as “Her mother and I do” or “Her family and I do” have been given.
AFP – Getty Michael Middleton walked Kate down the aisle in her wedding to Prince William
Who normally gives the bride away at royal weddings?
In April 2011, at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Kate was walked by her father, Michael, on the day.
Similarly, the Earl of Spencer walked his daughter Princess Diana (Harry’s mother) down the aisle at her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.
The Queen was given away by King George VI at her wedding to Prince Philip.
What are the odds on who will walk Meghan down the aisle?
Betfair and Ladbrokes are offering odds on who will give the bride away.
Mum Doria is favourite at 1/5, with dad Thomas at 9/2.
Prince Charles is 17/2 and Meghan on her own comes in at 14/1.
Her husband to be gets odds of 33/1 with Kate Middleton and outsider at 100/1.
You could also try putting some money on Donald Trump at 500/1.