Meghan Markle will today put a horrendous week of family drama behind her as she takes her mother to meet the Queen.
After a series of setbacks which have seen her father pull out of the ceremony and her half-brother call the wedding a ‘mistake’, Meghan will make final preparations today ahead of the ceremony at Windsor on Saturday.
Her half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., was pictured outside Windsor Castle this week after flying to the UK ahead of the service.
The royal bride will hope there are no further surprises from her family to disrupt the build-up to the wedding.
Today Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who has been staying at Kensington Palace, will meet the Queen to complete a whirlwind introduction to the royal family after flying in from Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle looked relaxed as their Range Rover took them from Windsor Castle after the rehearsal
Meghan was forced to make an extraordinary and moving statement confirming her father will no longer walk her down the aisle at St George’s Chapel on Saturday
Meghan’s half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr., was pictured outside Windsor Castle this week after flying to the UK ahead of the service
She has already enjoyed a ‘jolly’ meeting with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, just hours after landing, and yesterday met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
Last night royal fans were seen camping out outside the castle to ensure a good view of the planned procession, using sleeping bags and even folding chairs after local police banned tents.
Yesterday they witnessed a full rehearsal in which a carriage and members of the armed forces paraded through the streets of Windsor.
Meghan has pleaded for her 73-year-old father, who is recovering from heart surgery in Mexico after revelations about his alleged collusion with a paparazzi photographer, to be given ‘space’.
In the statement, which she is said to have written herself, Miss Markle, 36, 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.’
Meghan looked serene in the back of the car and even smiled despite the turmoil in the build-up to her wedding on Saturday
Prince Harry, 33, and his bride-to-be Meghan Markle, 36, are pictured leaving Windsor Castle after a dress rehearsal for their wedding at St George’s Chapel on Saturday
The Prince was pictured beaming with Miss Markle as they left Windsor Castle this afternoon following the wedding rehearsal
The actress also appeared to reject criticism by her siblings that she had failed to do enough to support the reclusive Thomas Markle, saying she had ‘always cared’ for him.
There was no confirmation from Kensington Palace about who will walk Miss Markle down the aisle tomorrow. That is expected later today.
However, her mother, Doria Ragland, who will accompany her to the chapel and who is due to meet the Queen today, is tipped for the role. Miss Markle’s future father-in-law, Prince Charles, and her closest male friend, Soho House director Markus Anderson, have also been mooted.
Amid criticism from some in the extended Markle family, sources close to Miss Markle yesterday insisted that she and Harry, 33, had offered both her parents substantial ‘support and advice’ as to how to handle the global interest since they started dating in 2016.
And friends told the Mail that contrary to claims by her half-siblings, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Jnr, that she had left their intensely private father to deal with the paparazzi on his own, she had been in ‘frequent’ touch with him by phone and text, including in recent days.
It is understood Mr Markle told his daughter personally that he would not be medically fit enough to fly to the UK.
Meghan Markle has described her sadness after revealing her father will not attend her wedding to Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are pictured arriving at Windsor Castle as she was forced to confirm that her father will not attend the royal wedding
Prince William is seen leaving Windsor Castle during the final preparations for Saturday’s royal wedding
It was claimed yesterday that he was recovering after having three stents implanted in arteries following a heart attack at home in Mexico eight days ago, and that he had said it would ‘take a long time to heal’.
In return, Miss Markle was said to have told him that she loved him and supported him, regardless of the paparazzi photograph debacle.
Kensington Palace declined, however, to confirm when Miss Markle had last seen her father or when she planned to see him next. They were also unable to say when Prince Harry would meet his new father-in-law. Although the couple have been dating for two years, the prince has only ever spoken to him by phone.
Yesterday’s announcement came at the end of a truly remarkable few days, in which Kensington Palace was accused of failing to get a grip of the situation, leaving Thomas Markle to brief the US gossip website TMZ about his plans.
The Queen travelled to Windsor from Buckingham Palace to help the couple with their final wedding preparations
The Queen was seen in the back of the car as she travelled to Windsor where royal rehearsals were taking place
William and Kate were also photographed leaving Kensington Palace as they joined the couple in Windsor for rehearsals
Harry and Meghan’s Range Rover was escorted by police as they sped past crowds of well-wishers and up the famous Long Walk to oversee the last preparations for their wedding day
‘It’ll take a long time to heal’: Meghan Markle’s father says he’s ‘ok’ after undergoing heart surgery
Thomas Markle (pictured this week) is recovering after he had three stents
Meghan Markle’s father is ‘alone and upset’ in hospital after undergoing heart surgery.
Thomas Markle is recovering after he had three stents implanted in arteries following a heart attack at home in Mexico eight days ago and said: ‘It will take a long time to heal’.
Mr Markle told TMZ last night: ‘I’m okay. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited’ and his children said he is ‘heartbroken’ to miss the wedding.
Mr Markle said his doctors needed to ‘go in and clear blockage, repair damage, and put a stent where it is needed’ during the operation.
His daughter Samantha, who has a poor relationship with Meghan, claims her father is ‘upset and alone’ following his surgery.
But there is some confusion over his care as sources close to the Markle family said he had already been diagnosed with a heart condition and was due to undergo planned surgery to fit a stent, the same operation Prince Philip underwent in 2011, early next week – on his return from London.
Even Buckingham Palace courtiers have started looking at the website for the latest updates.
But as the final preparations were put into place yesterday afternoon, Miss Markle and Harry appeared to be all smiles.
The couple attended their last wedding rehearsal at St George’s Chapel in Windsor with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are page boy and bridesmaid.
Miss Markle looked radiant despite the strain of the past week, wearing a white £285 Boss bodysuit and £7,000 Birks diamond earrings.
Although the Queen arrived at Windsor Castle for the weekend while the wedding party was there, she is understood not to have taken part.
Friends said last night that despite the drama of the past few days, Miss Markle was excited about the wedding and looking forward to exchanging vows with her prince. One admitted that families could sometimes be ‘messy’, but that she and Harry knew they had done everything possible to support her parents.
‘They are just looking forward to the next few days and happy and excited about becoming man and wife,’ the source said.
TMZ yesterday said it had again been in touch with Mr Markle.
Journalist Sean Mandell said Miss Markle’s father had told him: ‘It will take a long time to heal. I’m okay. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited.’
As for his daughter, Mr Mandell said it was clear she had been very upset by events. ‘Meghan was embarrassed and tearful in private,’ he said.
‘She is holding up, from what I’ve been told. It has been a tearful and a trying time for her.’
When asked if her relationship with her father could recover from this week’s debacle, he said: ‘I do get the sense he does want to be reunited with Meghan.
‘She’s no stranger to having to deal with hard moments in her life’. He told Good Morning Britain: ‘She [Meghan] called him Monday when the story first broke. But he did not have his phone on him and then she texted him, saying she loved him, that she was concerned over his health and bore him no ill will over the controversy of the fake photos.
‘He told us we wanted to be there and had a change of heart on Tuesday after speaking with Meghan over text and he felt he had pulled out prematurely.
‘He had originally felt it would be better for him not to be at the wedding because it would cause further embarrassment, he thought, for the Royal Family, and for Meghan, which is the last thing he wanted.
‘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.
‘Meghan is by all accounts a very strong women.
‘From what Thomas has told me there’s just love being conveyed there and a gentle approach between them when they speak.’
Meghan, pictured with her retired father Thomas Markle, 73, circa 2000, says she still cares for her father despite the chaos he has caused ahead of her wedding day
The Ascot Landau carriage set to carry the couple was paraded empty through the Berkshire town with Harry and Meghan still at Kensington Palace
Thousands have lined the streets of Windsor to see the armed forces including the Household Cavalry (pictured) marched through the Berkshire town during a dress rehearsal for the royal wedding
Charles and Camilla have been pictured leaving Kensington Palace by helicopter. They met Meghan’s mother