Thomas Markle, the father of American actress Meghan Markle who is set to marry Prince Harry in England on Saturday, won’t be in attendance at the historic event, Kensington Palace confirmed in a statement on Thursday. The news ends days of rumors and speculation over whether the 73-year-old would be there to walk his daughter down the aisle.
“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,” the bride said in the statement. “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.”
A statement from Ms. Meghan Markle: pic.twitter.com/TjBNarmuBU
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2018
Doubt about whether he would appear at the wedding began earlier this week when it was revealed he’d taken part in a staged paparazzi photo shoot depicting him brushing up on British culture. Amid the uproar that ensued, Thomas Markle said he wouldn’t attend so as to spare his daughter any further embarrassment. Shortly after that statement, he revealed that he had suffered a heart attack and that he would be undergoing a heart surgery on Wednesday. He reportedly is recovering in the hospital following the procedure and is expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days.
“I’m OK. It will take a long time to heal,” he reportedly told TMZ, adding, “Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited.”
Meghan Markle’s half sister, Samantha, has suggested her father’s heart troubles were brought on by the extreme media scrutiny he’s been under in the days leading up to the wedding. She also took the blame for the ill-advised photo shoot, saying it was an attempt to improve his image. Kensington Palace has been criticized for not doing enough to provide advice to Markle’s parents on handling the intense media spotlight. Women in the World founder Tina Brown was among those leveling criticism. She said, “Tom Markle’s no-show starting show cracks in British adoration of Meghan. Better care should have been taken of her dad to protect him — by Meghan as much as the Royals.”
Tom Markle’s no-show starting show cracks in British adoration of Meghan. Better care should have been taken of her dad to protect him—by Meghan as much as the Royals. https://t.co/GzCRRcEsSd
— Tina Brown (@TinaBrownLM) May 17, 2018
Kensington Palace has yet to reveal who would take Thomas Markle’s place in the ceremony, but Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who arrived in London on Wednesday is a leading contender.
Read the full story at CNN.