STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Meghan Markle confirms her father won't attend royal wedding

The American actress Meghan Markle ...

Posted: May 17, 2018 12:44 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 12:44 PM

The American actress Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father, Thomas Markle, will not attend her wedding to Britain's Prince Harry on Saturday.

Her statement ends days of speculation over the 73-year-old's health, and a controversy over whether he staged a series of paparazzi-style photographs.

"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," Meghan Markle said in a statement provided by Kensington Palace Thursday.

"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."

The statement is the first official confirmation that Thomas Markle would not be able to walk his daughter down the aisle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday.

CNN has learned that Markle has been in contact with her father in recent days, who told her that he was unable to attend the wedding on medical advice. CNN understands that while Markle is concerned for her father, she is surrounded by friends, in a good frame of mind and is looking forward to the wedding.

Kensington Palace has faced criticism for not doing enough to protect Thomas Markle from the inevitable glare of publicity that would come with the situation. In particular, some royal commentators have suggested that the royal family ought to have sent a "minder" to look after Markle in the weeks running up to the wedding.

The royal family never discusses such arrangements publicly, but CNN has learned that Kensington Palace has been offering advice and providing practical support in protecting Thomas Markle's security and privacy since after the couple met in 2016.

Kensington Palace did not say who would take Markle's place, but Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, arrived in London on Wednesday and will be a leading candidate.

Another possible stand-in would be Prince Charles, Meghan's future father-in-law.

Thomas Markle first suggested he might not attend the wedding on Monday, after conceding he had worked with an American celebrity photographer to stage a series of pictures of him preparing for the ceremony.

In a series of interviews with the entertainment website TMZ, Markle first said he would not attend to save his daughter embarrassment. Then he appeared to have a change of heart: "I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle," he was quoted as saying.

Later, Markle told TMZ that his daughter had attempted to reach him by phone, and having failed to do so, texted him to say that she loved him and to express concern. At that point, Markle said he would do his best to attend, despite suffering chest pains.

Finally, he said he had been forced to undergo heart surgery and would not be able to go to the wedding after all. Speaking to the TMZ entertainment website, he said it would "take a long time to heal."

Thomas Markle is a former lighting director who worked on popular TV shows "Married with Children" and "General Hospital," according to the Internet Movie Database.

He met Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, at a Hollywood studio in the late '70s. The pair split when their daughter was young.

Meghan Markle's half-sister, Samantha Markle, recently said she was the "culprit" who urged their father to stage the photos in an ill-fated bid to improve his image. She said her father had "suffered at the hands of the media" and had decided "enough is enough."

In Windsor, members of the Members of the British Armed Forces took part in a large-scale dress rehearsal. Troops left their barracks at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) Thursday, many marching to Windsor Castle to take up their positions inside the grounds.

More than 250 members of the Armed Forces will take on ceremonial duties on the day, lining the streets of Windsor, providing an escort for the procession and flanking the entrance to St George's Chapel, where the couple will marry.

Meanwhile, friends of Markle began arriving in London this week. Meghan's co-star in "Suits", Gabriel Macht and his actress wife, Jacinda Barrett, have been taking in the sites around the British capital and posting pictures to Instgram.

In one, Barrett is perched outside Buckingham Palace receiving a kiss from her four-year-old son.

Their co-star Sarah Rafferty has been posting from Paris on Instagram in recent days.

Rick Hoffman, another "Suits" star, posted a video on Instagram, telling fans he was "excited" to be "heading east for some special event."

Huntsville
Few Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 79°
Florence
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Fayetteville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 80°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14986

Reported Deaths: 566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 20111

Reported Deaths: 336
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson451857
Shelby433694
Trousdale13934
Rutherford99822
Sumner81145
Bledsoe6071
Hamilton55214
Williamson51210
Tipton4263
Lake4090
Putnam3775
Robertson3711
Wilson3558
Out of TN3394
Knox3315
Bedford2654
Montgomery2403
Rhea1950
Hardeman1890
Madison1652
McMinn13413
Loudon1320
Cumberland1091
Fayette1072
Cheatham1040
Dickson1010
Macon1003
Bradley931
Blount823
Maury780
Unassigned750
Washington730
Sevier722
Coffee650
Wayne630
Sullivan612
Gibson611
Monroe572
Hickman540
Lauderdale511
Greene482
Dyer480
Franklin461
Anderson391
Marion361
DeKalb330
Hawkins312
Grundy311
Smith301
Haywood292
Henry290
Marshall281
Jefferson270
White270
Carroll271
Hamblen262
Lincoln260
Weakley260
Meigs250
Obion241
Lawrence240
Overton200
Cocke200
Carter191
Warren190
Morgan170
Cannon170
Campbell171
Jackson170
Crockett151
Roane150
Johnson150
Polk140
Perry130
McNairy120
Henderson120
Chester120
Giles120
Humphreys121
Hardin112
Scott110
Sequatchie100
Fentress100
Stewart90
Claiborne80
Houston70
Benton71
Clay70
Grainger60
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Lewis30
Moore30
Pickett30
Unicoi30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events