Prince of Wales steps in to walk Meghan Markle down the aisle

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The Prince of Wales is to step in for the father of the bride and walk Meghan Markle down the aisle.

Kensington Palace announced that Charles would give his soon-to-be daughter-in-law away when she marries Prince Harry on Saturday in the historic surroundings of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

In statement, Kensington Palace said: “Ms Meghan Markle has asked His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to accompany her down the aisle of the Quire of St George’s Chapel on her Wedding Day.

“The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms Markle to The Royal Family in this way.”

Meghan’s father Thomas Markle was forced to pull out of performing the fatherly duty after undergoing heart surgery in a dramatic upset just two days before the wedding.

The star’s mother Doria Ragland had been tipped to perform the role.

But unlike Ms Ragland, Harry’s father is vastly experienced at appearing at large-scale public events amid intense scrutiny.

He also performed the duty for Alexandra Knatchbull, the daughter of his close friend, Lord Brabourne, in 2016.

It is understood that Harry was involved in discussions with his fiancee about who should take on the important role on the big day.

Asked about what he thinks of Prince Charles being chosen to walk Meghan down the aisle, the Archbishop of Canterbury said Charles is “someone of great care and affection”, adding: “He’s a very warm person and that he’s doing this is a sign of his love and concern and support.

“And I think it’s wonderful. It’s beautiful.”

Meghan will walk up the Nave of St George’s Chapel – the first part of the church – on her own in front of a global television audience of millions.

She will be followed by her six bridesmaids and four pageboys including Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Dean of Windsor will be among the procession.

Meghan will then be accompanied by Charles through the Quire which begins the middle of the Chapel.

As final preparations got under way on Harry and Meghan’s last day before they become husband and wife, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Duke of Edinburgh would be attending the wedding.

Philip during the Royal Windsor Horse Show last week (Steve Parsons/PA)
Philip during the Royal Windsor Horse Show last week (Steve Parsons/PA)

Harry and Meghan were seen in the back of a Land Rover as they arrived at Windsor Castle to join Meghan’s mother Ms Ragland and meet the Queen for a spot of afternoon tea.

The pair will spend their last night as an unmarried couple in separate luxury hotels, only meeting again at the altar.

Fans, many decked out in the national colours of both Britain and the United States, camped outside the castle and sang loudly in readiness for the festivities.

A large security operation saw police manning the barricades outside the castle, snipers on the roofs of high street buildings and sniffer dogs carrying out checks before Saturday’s ceremony.

There was sadness for the bride on Thursday when she confirmed her father Mr Markle was unable to attend the ceremony on medical advice after undergoing heart surgery.

In a statement released by Kensington Palace, the bride-to-be said on Thursday: “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.”

Mr Markle reportedly pulled out of attending the ceremony in St George’s Chapel to avoid embarrassing his daughter, but then later said before his surgery that he wanted to be part of history and hoped to be there, celebrity website TMZ revealed.

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