'Sad' Meghan Markle Issues Statement: 'My Father Will Not Be Attending Our Wedding'

Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father Thomas Markle will not walk her down the aisle on Saturday

Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father, Thomas Markle, will “sadly” not be at her wedding to Prince Harry — and hopes he will have the “space to focus on his health.”

In her first solo statement issued by the palace, Meghan thanked people for their messages of support since the news emerged that her dad was not going to the U.K. for the wedding.

“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,” she said.

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

ANZAC Day service at Westminster Abbey, London, UK - 25 Apr 2018

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.

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.”

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Over the past several days, Thomas’ attendance at Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials has been in question. On Monday, he said he would not attend the wedding in order to avoid embarrassing the royal family and his daughter after it was revealed that he had worked with paparazzi to stage several photographs ahead of the royal wedding. Then on Tuesday, he told TMZ that he wanted to make it to London to walk Meghan down the aisle, pending his health. He said he received texts from Meghan telling him that she wanted him to be present for her wedding.

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

Meghan Markle - 6
Meghan and Thomas Markle. Source: Meghan Markle/Instagram

Meghan, 36, and Harry, 33, are due to wed at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday. Her mother, Doria Ragland, 61, flew into London yesterday and spent the afternoon with the couple.

Now, attention will focus on who will walk Meghan down the aisle on Saturday. The decision will be made “in due course,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.

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