Meghan Markle releases statement confirming dad Thomas will NOT be attending the Royal Wedding
The 36-year-old bride-to-be, who has been left "tearful" over the wedding fiasco, said Thomas Markle needed to "focus on his health" after undergoing heart surgery.
In an extraordinary statement that appears to be aimed at her family, who have criticised her and Kensington Palace officials for not supporting her dad ahead of the big day, Meghan said: "I've always cared for my father".
It means her dad will not walk her down the aisle, with mum Doria Ragland – who arrived in London yesterday – instead expected to step into the role at the last minute to save the day.
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
In her emotionally-charged statement today, Meghan 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."
Thomas Markle is yet to meet his future in-laws, including the Queen.
His ex-wife Doria Ragland, who is now tipped to walk Meghan down the aisle, has already flown into the UK, and is expected to have tea with the royal family later today.
Meghan;s nephews and sister-in-law have also landed in the UK – despite not being invited 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.
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.
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.
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."
Yesterday, it was revealed that Meghan would have a number of children as her bridesmaids and pageboys, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney also arrived in the UK this week, with the Canadian socialite's children yesterday revealed to be bridesmaids and pageboys in the upcoming wedding.
Kensington Palace confirmed that Meghan had been depending on her close-knit group of friends while planning the wedding, saying: "They have all been actively involved in helping her prepare and will be there with her to celebrate on the day."
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