It’s been a tiring week for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry who exchanged vows in a highly anticipated royal wedding ceremony on Saturday, watched live on televisions around the globe, as well as witnessed in person by close family and friends – but one crucial member from the bride’s family who could not make it to the ceremony was Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, who, according to the new Duchess’ statement, needed time away to focus on his health.
So, instead of being walked down the aisle by her own father, Meghan asked an unusual member of the royal family to give her away at the wedding.
Prince Charles Gives Away the Bride
Not everything at Harry and Meghan’s wedding on Saturday went as originally planned. Until the week of the highly-anticipated event, there was considerable amount of speculation in the media surrounding Thomas Markel’s attendance.
But the new Duchess of Windsor released a statement shortly before the ceremony saying that her father will be unable to walk her down the aisle due to his fragile health, and the duty of giving the bride away would instead be performed by Harry’s own father and Meghan’s father-in-law, Prince Charles, as per the bride’s request.
Sources close to the royal couple said that Meghan was devastated to hear the news that her father will not be able to attend her wedding and Harry has been doing everything he can to console his bride.
Meghan walked into the St. George’s Chapel, in her stunning Givenchy gown, alone. However, she was met by her soon-to-be-father-in-law halfway across the alter who tenderly held the bride’s arm and led her down the aisle where Prince Harry waited next to big brother and best man, Prince William. As Prince Charles handed over the bride, Harry smiled at him and whispered ‘Thanks, dad,’ under his breath.
A Sudden Heart Attack
The bride wore a classic boat-neck wedding dress designed by Givenchy, paired with statement cathedral-length veil as well as Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara made in 1932 loaned to Markle for her special day by Her Majesty, the Queen. On the other hand, the groom was dressed in his army uniform for his wedding, in honor of the decade he had served in the British military.
A day before the wedding, Kensington Palace released a statement confirming that Thomas Markle will be unable to travel from the United States to Britain for his daughter’s wedding due to his fragile health after suffering from a heart attack a week ago.
Meghan had hoped that her father would be able to escort her down the aisle on her big day but after a sudden change of plans, 69-year-old Prince Charles had to fill in the role of escorting the bride-to-be to the alter. Thomas had informed Meghan only 48 hours before the ceremony that he will not be able to make the long journey to the Windsor Castle.
A source close to the royal family said that it was Meghan Markle who requested Prince Charles to accompany her to the alter and she is grateful to the Prince of Wales for graciously accepting her request.
Markle made the journey from the Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel in a car with her mother, Doria Ragland, although she walked the first half of the aisle alone, before being accompanied by her father-in-law. The bride also chose not to have a maid of honor for her wedding.
A World-Wide Phenomenon
The newly-wed couple announced their engagement in November last year, during a sit-down interview with the BBC News in which Meghan revealed that Harry had gone down on one knee on a ‘cozy night’ in their Kensington Palace cottage.
The two were roasting chicken for dinner when the Duke of Windsor popped the question in the most natural and romantic way possible. The newly-weds spent the first night of their marriage at the same cottage before returning to royal duties today.
The royal wedding was one of the most highly-anticipated event of this year, attended by 600 guests including the royal family and close friends of the bride and groom’s. Some of the most iconic faces such as George and Amal Clooney, David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John and Serena Williams were also spotted in the rows.
Apart from the high-profile guest list, more than 100,000 people were lined up all the way from Windsor Castle to the Chapel to catch a glimpse of the historic moment and wish the newly-weds a happy married life together.