Erin Hill and Simon Perry
May 17, 2018 11:00 AM

After months of planning, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were putting the final touches on their upcoming wedding when they were hit with the unexpected news that Meghan’s dad, Thomas Markle, would be unable to come to Windsor and walk his daughter down the aisle.

Meghan confirmed the news in a rare solo statement on Thursday, saying: “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.”

In the midst of their disappointment, Meghan and Harry resumed with their wedding preparations, arriving in Windsor by car on Thursday afternoon to prepare for their big day.

“She is very concerned about her father. But equally, she is excited about her wedding,” a royal source tells PEOPLE. “She is with her mother and with her best friends and is preparing for one of the most magical days of her life.”

VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty

Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, arrived in London Wednesday and spent the afternoon with the couple. Several of the bride-to-be’s closest and friends and former Suits costars have also been spotted around town in the days leading up to the royal wedding.

“She is concerned about her father, but she is looking forward to Saturday,” the source continues.

On Wednesday, Thomas told TMZ that he successfully completed heart surgery and his doctors implanted multiple stents in his blood vessels. He remains hospitalized, according to TMZ.

RELATED VIDEO: The Royals Say They Are ‘Thrilled’ to Welcome Meghan Markle to the Family: ‘America’s Loss Is Our Gain’

The royal source couldn’t confirm the operation, but said of Meghan’s father, “He has told Meghan he cannot attend due to medical reasons.”

Thomas was initially set to walk his daughter down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel on May 19, but on the heels of the revelation that Thomas had staged photographs in cooperation with a paparazzi, he said on Monday that he was bowing out of attending the royal wedding in an effort to avoid embarrassing Meghan or the royal family.

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He then walked back on his earlier proclamation on Tuesday, telling TMZ that if he was healthy enough, he was still hoping to walk his daughter down the aisle. “I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle,” he said. “Of course I’d walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I’d like to be a part of history.”

  • Don’t miss out! Tune in to Meghan and Harry – a Fairy-Tale Wedding on Saturday, May 19, starting at 6 a.m. ET/ 3 a.m. PT on PeopleTV — now available on PeopleTV.com and on your favorite streaming device.

Ultimately, it was confirmed by Meghan that her dad would be unable to make the trip to Windsor for the wedding.

“She is ultimately concerned, as Prince Harry is, for her father,” the source adds. “They have both been in touch with Thomas Markle in recent days, as they have for some time. They have been in regular contact.”

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