World News

Meghan Markle’s Father Will Skip the Royal Wedding, Report Says

Posted May 14, 2018 8:20 p.m. EDT

Just days before one of the most anticipated weddings in years, Kensington Palace issued a statement Monday asking for “understanding and respect” after a report that Meghan Markle’s father had decided to skip the ceremony and would not walk her down the aisle.

Markle, an American actress, will marry Prince Harry on Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle at a ceremony that will be attended by celebrities and be covered by media outlets around the world.

But Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, will not attend, the celebrity news website TMZ reported Monday — a revelation that has spurred a fresh round of gossip and speculation about who will take his place.

In a statement, released soon after TMZ’s report was published, a Kensington Palace spokesman appeared to acknowledge the report’s existence but stopped short of confirming it.

“This is a deeply personal moment for Ms. Markle in the days before her wedding,” the spokesman said in the statement. “She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation.”

The Associated Press reported that the palace had previously said it would not comment on the report.

Efforts to reach Thomas Markle on Monday evening were not immediately successful.

On Saturday, The Daily Mail reported that Markle had been working with a British paparazzi photographer to pose for a series of pictures that were then sold to newspapers around the world.

In its own report Monday, TMZ said that it had spoken with Markle and that he said he had decided against attending the wedding because of fallout related to the photo deal. TMZ said he had decided not to go because he did not want to “embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter.”

Earlier this month, The Associated Press, citing a palace spokesman, reported that both of Meghan Markle’s divorced parents would meet with Queen Elizabeth II and have “special roles” in their daughter’s wedding. Markle’s parents, who split when she was young, had been scheduled to arrive in London this week.

During a briefing at Buckingham Palace on May 4, the spokesman, Jason Knauf, said that Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, would travel with her daughter to Windsor Castle on the day of the wedding and that Thomas Markle would walk his daughter down the aisle.

Even that announcement marked a modest departure from convention. In past royal weddings, the bride’s mother has remained in the background, ceremonially upstaged by the bride’s father, who accompanies her to the venue and then walks her down the aisle.

But Meghan Markle is very close to her mother — so much so that there had been some speculation that Ragland would walk her daughter down the aisle. Markle was largely raised by Ragland, a yoga instructor and social worker.

Harry has spent time with Ragland and was reported by People magazine to have asked her permission for Markle’s hand. His first meeting with Thomas Markle was to have been this week.