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Meghan Markle confirms that her father will not attend her wedding

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Meghan Markle

The philanthropist and actor says that she hopes Thomas Markle will be given space to focus on his health.

Meghan Markle has released a statement through Kensington Palace, confirming that her father will not be attending her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday.

In the statement, released on 17 May, Markle 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.”

She went on to thank those who had offered her “generous messages of support”: “Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.”

Thomas Markle had been expected to walk his daughter down the aisle. However, he told TMZ on 14 May that he would no longer be travelling to the UK due to health reasons. 

The publication reported that he had suffered a heart attack six days previously, and was concerned about “embarrassing” his daughter or the Royal Family.

A royal spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of Markle and Prince Harry a day later, requesting that her father be accorded “understanding and respect in this difficult situation”.

Thomas Markle had found himself at the centre of a tabloid controversy after it emerged that he worked with a paparazzi photographer to stage photos of himself. He later explained that he had felt overwhelmed by media attention, and was embarrassed by unflattering photos of him that had been published in the press.

When a paparazzi agency approached him and offered him the chance to present himself in a more accurate and positive light, he initially thought it was a good idea - but said he now regrets the decision. 

While Markle’s father will not be attending, her mother and “best friend”, Doria Ragland, will be playing an important role in the Suits star’s wedding.

Ragland is already in the UK, which has allowed 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 her before the wedding itself.

And, in a break with tradition, Kensington Palace has confirmed that Ragland riding in a car with her daughter from her overnight accommodation to Windsor Castle.

It is hoped that this will allow Markle the chance to share a few special, private moments with Ragland – whom she has proudly described as the most important woman in her life.

Image: Getty