London: Confusion prevailed on Tuesday over whether Meghan Markle’s father will walk his daughter down the aisle to marry Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on Saturday after reports said that he will not attend the royal wedding.
Thomas Markle, 73, was quoted by some US media as saying that he would not attend the royal wedding to avoid embarrassing his daughter and the royal family after paparazzi shots of him seemed to indicate he had been paid to pose for photographers.
“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation,” a Kensington Palace statement said.
It had been announced earlier this month that Mr Thomas, a retired Hollywood lighting engineer who lives in Mexico, would walk his daughter to the altar at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where the 36-year-old former actress is set to wed Prince Harry, 33, in front of 600 guests and an international television audience of millions on May 19.
Before the ceremony, Mr Thomas was expected to perform the duty of the meeting of the in-laws some time this week, when he was to join ex-wife and the bride-to-be’s mother, Doria Ragland, at tea with
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Camilla.
Ms Ragland, a social worker and yoga teacher who lives in Los Angeles, is to accompany her daughter in the bridal car. The 61-year-old is now expected to step into her ex-husband’s shoes and walk her daughter down the aisle if he is missing from the ceremony.
According to a US celebrity website TMZ, Thomas has given his ex-wife his blessing to perform the duty.
He claimed to have suffered a heart attack due to stress six days ago and plans to check himself back into hospital over chest pains.
Ms Meghan has previously heaped her father with compliments for investing in her future.
She has been quoted as saying, “The blood, sweat and tears this man who came from so little in a small town of Pennsylvania, where Christmas stockings were filled with oranges, and dinners were potatoes and Spam invested in my future so that I could grow up to have so much.