Royal wedding party details revealed
MEGHAN Markle's father will walk her down the aisle at her upcoming wedding to Prince Harry, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
Parents of the soon-to-be royal, Thomas Markle Senior and Doria Ragland, will fly into the UK the week before the wedding to meet their daughter's new groom, along with the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and senior members of the royal family.
It will be the first time Prince Harry has met his new father-in-law.
In a break from tradition, Meghan's mother will drive with her to the chapel on May 19, where she will be met by her father, bridesmaids and pageboys outside.
The 36-year-old former Suits actress will not have a maid of honour, with the bridesmaids and pageboys "all children," communications secretary Jason Knauf confirmed.
"[Meghan] has a very close knit group of friends and she does not want to choose one over another," he said. "She is very pleased to have their support on the day."
"Her close friends will be supporting her through …. but none of them have formal roles."
Confirmation of Meghan's parents role at the service comes during a week in which her half-brother Thomas Markle Junior, 51, suggested her father hadn't been invited.
Markle Senior, an Emmy-winning lighting director, and Doria, a yoga instructor, were married for nine years before splitting in 1988.
Her father now lives in Mexico, while her mother lives in LA and has met Prince Harry before, including at the Invictus Games in Toronto where the couple first went public.
Kensington Palace did not comment on whether other members of Meghan Markle's family would attend, however this week, Thomas Markle Jr, wrote a letter to Prince Harry calling Meghan "conceited" and saying it was "not too late to back out".
Her half-sister Samantha Markle has also slammed the pair for inviting 1200 "strangers" to the event.
Kensington Palace said the wedding will be "guided by tradition" but also designed to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan's own personalities.
There will be no American-style rehearsal dinner, and they have veered away from the royal tradition of fruit cake in favour of an elderflower one.
In what is likely to prove an emotional moment, Princess Diana's siblings will be in attendance, with her sister, Lady Jane Fellowes, to give a reading in the chapel.
"Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day," Mr Knauf said.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte are likely to be included in the bridal party, though newborn Prince Louis will stay at home. It's also unclear whether the Duke of Edinburgh, who is currently recovering from a hip operation will attend, though Mr Knauf said the couple "very much hope" he will be there.
Prince Harry and Meghan will spend the night before the wedding apart - with Prince Harry most likely staying at Windsor castle and Meghan at a hotel.
The first glimpse the 33-year-old Prince will have of his new bride will be when she walks into the chapel and the palace is still considering whether or not to have screens inside the venue that could potentially ruin the surprise.
Prince Harry and his best man, Prince William, will arrive on foot for the nuptials that are expected to be watched by millions of people around the world.
Following the one hour service, the newlywed couple will meet representatives from more than 200 charities outside.
Asked whether there would be a "balcony moment" for the famous couple, Mr Knauf said there would be "no comment on kissing today."
"The couple are delighted that these people who will be such an important part of their official work in the years to come will be the first people they see after their wedding," he said.
More than 100,000 people are expected to line the streets of Windsor on the wedding day where the couple will marry inside the grounds of the 1000 year old castle - the oldest in the world that is still inhabited.
Twelve hundred people will attend, with capacity for 800 guests inside the chapel. A lunch reception will be held after the ceremony, with a smaller number of guests departing for a private evening reception at Frogmore House that will be paid for by the royal family.
Details about the bride's dress, ushers, bridesmaids, pageboys and food will be announced in the coming weeks, along with the official title that will be bestowed upon the couple - likely to be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The couple will take a honeymoon but not immediately after the wedding, with a working engagement to be held the following week - their first as man and wife.