MEGHAN Markle beamed today as she arrived in Windsor to reunite with her mum for tea with the Queen – just hours after confirming her dad won’t attend the Royal Wedding.
The US actress and Prince Harry were driven into the town for their wedding rehearsal this afternoon, with the bride-to-be looking in good spirits despite having been left “tearful” over the rocky build-up to the big day.
Peter Jordan The royal couple arriving in Windsor ahead of their wedding
Meghan and Harry were driven past keen well-wishers and up the famous Long Walk to have tea with the Queen, with it expected to be the first time the bride-to-be’s mum Doria Ragland will meet the 92-year-old monarch.
Prince Harry’s brother and best man Prince William was also seen heading to Windsor today with wife Kate – the first time the Duchess of Cambridge has been seen since giving birth to the couple’s third child Louis.
What we know so far…
Meghan Markle today confirmed her dad would not be at her wedding as he continues to recover from major heart surgery Thomas Markle had earlier said he wouldn’t be attending for fear of embarrassing Meghan and the royal family over staged paparazzi photos The 73-year-old suffered a heart scare last week which he has reportedly blamed on an open letter by his son Tom Jr – who has since said he’s “mortified” Samantha Markle, Meghan’s half-sister, has slammed claims Kensington Palace is supporting their dad in hospital before she was injured in a car crash on Wednesday Mr Markle backed Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland to give her away in his stead Mum Doria is said to not be on speaking terms with her ex-husband, angry his family has been trashing Meghan The bride’s best friend Jessica Mulroney jetted into London Heathrow with her kids Kensington Palace announced that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be among the bridesmaids and page boys at the wedding Elton John will reportedly perform at Meghan and Harry’s wedding
Meghan appeared calm as she sat beside Harry in their Range Rover, despite having just hours earlier confirmed her father Thomas Markle would not be walking her down the aisle in two days’ time, saying that he instead needed to “focus on his health” after undergoing heart surgery.
The Royal Wedding plans were this week thrown into chaos when Meghan’s 73-year-old dad went back and forth in his decision to attend the ceremony – having been left embarrassed after posing for staged paparazzi photos in a cash deal.
WATCH LIVE: Huge crowds in Windsor as the town prepares for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Peter Jordan The bride-to-be was seen just hours after confirming her dad would not be coming to the wedding
©Karwai Tang Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for wedding rehearsals today in Windsor
Peter Jordan Meghan arrived in Windsor this afternoon ready for the dress rehearsal
©Karwai Tang Meghan smiled as she and Harry were driven to Windsor this afternoon
SIMPSON / BUSHELL The Queen looks rather solemn-faced as she leaves London this afternoon bound for Windsor Castle in readiness for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding
London News Pictures Prince Harry cracks a smile as the pair leave Windsor Castle this afternoon
While Meghan reportedly begged her father to attend, saying that she still loved him and simply wanted him to be at the ceremony, her dad, who lives in Mexico, eventually pulled out after yesterday’s operation.
The 36-year-old bride-to-be released a statement this afternoon to confirm the news, appearing to take aim at her own family, who had previously criticised her and Kensington Palace officials for not supporting her dad ahead of the big day, saying: “I have always cared for my father.”
It is yet to be confirmed who will give Meghan away in her wedding to Prince Harry, but it is widely believed the US actress will have her mum Doria by her side, with the yoga instructor mum having flown into London yesterday.
Doria will meet the Queen – who was today pictured leaving London bound for Windsor Castle – this afternoon, having reportedly already met Prince Charles, Camilla, Kate and William earlier today.
Flynet Pictures Prince William and Kate were seen driving out of Kensington Palace today ahead of the Royal Wedding
Peter Jordan Prince Charles and Camilla leave Kensington Palace by helicopter
The Mega Agency Doria, who is pictured leaving her home in LA earlier this week, will meet the Queen for tea
Peter Jordan Kate and William, who welcomed their third child Louis this year, were also seen heading to the rehearsal Meghan Markle confirms dad Thomas will NOT be at Royal Wedding
The meeting could be tense after Meghan released an emotionally charged-statement over the wedding fiasco, 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.
“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.”
Friends have flown into the UK to support the Suits star, ready to help in the final days before the wedding.
Meghan’s best friend Jessica Mulroney arrived this week, with the Canadian socialite’s children among those announced to be bridesmaids and page boys during the ceremony.
But other arrivals were not so expected, with Meghan’s estranged family members, including her nephews and sister-in-law also landing in the UK despite not being invited to the wedding.
The Mega Agency Thomas Markle is expected to continue to recover from heart surgery over the next few days Rehearsals in Windsor ahead of the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleTMZ reporter Sean Mandell says that Meghan Markle was left in tears over dad controversy
AP:Associated Press Meghan Markle released a statement today, saying her dad could not make it to the wedding
Splash News Thomas Markle Sr with a young Meghan Markle
Getty – Contributor Meghan is said to be devastated that her dad will not be able to come to the wedding
Getty – Contributor Meghan might walk down the aisle with her mum Doria
Meghan has endured constant criticism from her family, including half-sister Samantha, for not supporting their father – with Meghan’s estranged family also unhappy they were not invited to the wedding.
Samantha Markle lashed out overnight, saying that she had even been forced to wire Thomas Markle cash to survive.
The American had previously taken the blame for the staged paparazzi shots, which Thomas Sr later described as “hammy” and “stupid”.
Earlier today, a journalist for US website TMZ – which has published a number of exclusive interview with Thomas Sr this week – said the bride’s father had been hopeful of attending the wedding but would be prevented by his ill-health.
Meghan Markle’s family – from dad Thomas and half-sister Samantha Grant to the nephews
�2018 Stephen Lock / i-Images The royal carriage is pulled through the streets of Windsor during the rehearsal for the big day
AP:Associated Press Crowds gathered to watch the run-through of the procession which will follow the wedding
Damir Sagolj Military personnel rehearse their part in the procession for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding
The Mega Agency Doria Ragland was pictured leaving her home in the US
PA:Press Association Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot this Saturday
Reporter Sean Mandell, who spoke to Thomas Sr after his operation yesterday, also revealed Meghan’s heartache that her father could not attend.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: “She is holding up, from what I’ve been told. It has been a tearful, at times, and a trying time for her.”
He added: “I do get the sense that he does want to be reunited with Meghan, because he told us that he wanted to be there.
“He had a change of heart on Tuesday of this week actually, that after speaking with Meghan over text that he felt that he had prematurely maybe made the decision to pull out of the wedding.”
Thomas’ absence from the wedding means that Doria will be the only direct family member of Meghan’s at the wedding.
REUTERS The household cavalry during the dress rehearsal for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
REUTERS Rehearsals for the wedding of the year have already begun
Jon Bond – The Sun Meghan and Harry mania is already sweeping Britain
BPM Media Masks are already up for sale to celebrate the big day
BPM Media Posters and signs celebrating the wedding are decorating Windsor TMZ reporter Sean Mandell reveals Meghan Markle’s dad will be in hospital for ‘another few days’
Coleman-Rayner He was caught posing for snaps which sold for £100k
Coleman-Rayner Photographs showed Meghan’s dad exercising before the big day
Coleman-Rayner The father-of-the-bride was also photographed being fitted for a suit – with it later revealed as being staged
Sean said that Thomas had initially felt he didn’t want to cause the royal family any further embarrassment, but added: “At the end of the day he realised, I’m a father, and I want to be there for my daughter, and I want to be part of history.
“Ultimately his health prevented him from being able to do that.”
Thomas Markle has previously blamed his health woes on his son Thomas Markle Jr, saying that the open letter that his son wrote to Prince Harry – blasting the upcoming wedding as a “fake fairy tale” – had caused his heart attack.
Thomas Markle Jr has backtracked on his claims, overnight saying that his sister was the “best thing to happen to the royals”.
Meghan’s support system has since rushed to be by her side in the lead up to the wedding.
Her mum Doria yesterday landed in London, with the 61-year-old yoga instructor now tipped to walk Meghan down the aisle.
A source told the Sun: “Meghan is holding up OK but she has a lot on her plate.