Thomas Markle, Meghan’s father, became caught up in scandal this weekend after it was revealed that he had conspired with paparazzi photographers to stage several photoshoots ahead of Meghan’s big day. In the photos, which appeared in publications across the globe, he was seen reading a book about Great Britain, looking at an online photo gallery of photos of Meghan and Prince Harry and having a fitting for his wedding suit. In a Mail on Sunday report that was published just six days before Meghan and Harry tie the knot, it was revealed that the photographs were staged.
In the aftermath of the revelation, Thomas told TMZ that he longer plans to attend the wedding, hoping to avoid any embarrassment to Meghan and the royal family. Thomas had previously been set to walk his daughter down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel on Saturday.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding. She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”
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In his absence, who will have the honor of walking Meghan down the aisle to wed Prince Harry?
1. Her mother, Doria Ragland
The most obvious choice is Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. Meghan and her mom are close, and she’s gotten to know Harry over the past year. During Meghan and Harry’s televised engagement interview, Harry said that Doria was “awesome.” Doria also joined the couple for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in September 2017.
Doria is expected to accompany her daughter to St. George’s Chapel by car from Cliveden House Hotel, where she and Meghan will stay the night before the wedding. Upon arrival, Meghan was supposed to be greeted by her father, who would then walk her down the aisle. With Thomas no longer set to be in attendance on the big day, it’s quite possible that Doria would take his place to walk her daughter down the aisle.
2. Her father-in-law-to-be, Prince Charles
If Meghan’s father can’t be there, then her father-in-law could step in. Charles has no other official duty during the wedding, and he and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have been excited to welcome Meghan into the family from the moment they announced their engagement. He’s even hosting the couple’s evening wedding reception at Frogmore House. It could be a sweet show of family solidarity and acceptance.
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3. Her grandfather-in-law-to-be, Prince Philip
Meghan could go for a different generation of royal and ask Prince Philip to do the honors. But even if she did ask, he’s likely unable to do the job. Considering Prince Philip’s recent hip replacement surgery, the chances that he’ll be up for the long walk (110 steps!) down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel are slim, even if he does have Meghan to lean on. And of course, his attendance at the wedding itself has yet to be confirmed (though his appearance at the Windsor Horse Show last week is promising).
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4. Her brother-in-law-to-be, Prince William
The third royal who could be a likely candidate for the job is Meghan’s future brother-in-law, Prince William. This choice has precedent: When Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, her brother-in-law Prince Philip walked her down the aisle, as her father, King George VI, had died in 1952. However, William is Harry’s best man, so he might be otherwise occupied during the day, and would want to remain by Harry’s side ahead of the “I do’s.”
Perhaps the most true-to-herself option of all would be if Meghan walks down the aisle of St. George’s Chapel solo. Meghan has long been outspoken about her independence. It could be a meaningful show of personal strength as she prepares to join the world’s most famous family.