Meghan Markle planned to have her father Thomas Markle Sr. walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry this weekend. Then everything changed. On Monday, Thomas admitted to staging paparazzi photographs of himself in order to improve his public image.
The subsequent scandal led him to state he would no longer attend the wedding "because he doesn't want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter." Then he said he didn't want to miss the "historic moment" and hoped to be there. After much confusion, Thomas finally told TMZ he will undergo heart surgery on Wednesday and cannot fly to London after all.
While Kensington Palace has not confirmed Thomas's absence yet, a spokesman issued a brief statement earlier this week. "This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding," it reads. "She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation."
The ordeal places both the palace and her bride herself in limbo. Meghan reportedly still wanted her dad to perform the duty, but given his health, a Plan B may have to come into play.
Luckily, many loyal supporters can step up to the plate and escort Meghan on Saturday, May 19.
Her Mom, Doria Ragland
One of the most obvious choices is Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland. The two are close; Meghan lived with her mother after her parents' divorce. Plus she's already scheduled to ride in the car with the bride to St. George's Chapel that morning.
This wouldn't be the first time that a woman has escorted her daughter in a royal wedding either. Queen Victoria gave away her youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1885 when she married.
A member of the royal family might also take on the duty. Prince William already has the honor of serving as his brother's best man, but there's more recent historical precedent for this option. Brother-in-law Prince Philip escorted Princess Margaret down the aisle at her 1960 wedding after her father King George VI passed away.
Prince Philip is scheduled to attend the ceremony this weekend as well, butfor the long walk down the chapel. He recently underwent hip replacement surgery and would probably feel more comfortable sitting amongst the guests, if he attends at all.
The father of the groom has no official duty during the ceremony, so he's definitely available if it came down to it. He's also a big supporter of the couple; the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall are hosting the evening wedding reception at Frogmore House.
Meghan has already established her independence as an accomplished 36-year-old woman. Walking through the chapel solo would make the ultimate statement about inner strength and her conviction in joining the royal family.
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