Meghan Markle Confirms Her Father Will Not Attend the Royal Wedding

"I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health," the bride-to-be says

By Zach Johnson May 17, 2018 10:30 AMTags

Meghan Markle confirmed Thursday her father, Thomas Markle, will no longer be walking her down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry this weekend. In a statement released through Kensington Palace, she 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."

Thomas announced to TMZ Monday that he had recently suffered a heart attack, and on Wednesday, he underwent surgery to correct some of his health issues. "I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support," Meghan said Thursday. "Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday."

When news of Thomas' health first came out, a palace spokesperson said, "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and for respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."

Thomas shared his health problems publicly one day after The Mail on Sunday revealed he had staged photo shoots with the paparazzi. His daughter, Samantha Grant, later claimed she had advised him to do the set-ups to show the world who he really is. Samantha, who is estranged from Meghan and was not invited to the royal wedding, defend him all week on her media blitz.

With Thomas out of the picture, it's unknown who—if anyone—will walk Meghan down the aisle. Luckily, the former Suits actress' mother, Doria Ragland, flew to London a few days ago.

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Harry's brother, Prince William, will serve as his best man, while Meghan did not select a maid of honor. "She has a very close-knit circle of friends and she didn't want to choose one over another. All have been actively involved in helping her prepare for the day and will be there in the days beforehand," a spokesman said last month. "She's very happy to have their support."

The bridal party was announced Wednesday. Princess Charlotte, 3, Florence van Cutsem, 3 Remi Litt, 6, Rylan Litt, 7, Ivy Mulroney, 4, and Zalie Warren, 2, will be bridesmaids, while Prince George, 4, Jasper Dyer, 6, Brian Mulroney, 7, and John Mulroney, 7, will be page boys.