Meghan Markle's father won't attend royal wedding due to health issues

Meghan Markle said Thursday that her father won't be at her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday at Windsor Castle due to health problems.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," she said in a statement released by Kensington Palace. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

The palace has not revealed details about Thomas Markle's health issues, but the celebrity website TMZ says he is hospitalized in California after undergoing a procedure to clear blocked coronary arteries.

He reportedly told the website he was OK but needed to rest.

Thomas Markle, 73, had been scheduled to walk his daughter down the aisle Saturday at St George's Chapel.

It is possible Doria Ragland, Meghan's mother, will fill that role instead. No replacement has been officially named.

Ragland has arrived in Britain and is due to meet the Queen, 92, and her husband Prince Philip, 96, on Thursday.

Speculation put to rest

Harry is sixth in line to the throne. Meghan lived in Toronto while shooting the TV series Suits.

Meghan said in a statement she 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." 

The drama surrounding Thomas Markle, and harsh comments about Meghan made by estranged members of her extended family who were not invited to the wedding, have dominated tabloid coverage of the royal wedding in recent days.

Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine on Thursday castigated Harry's Kensington Palace press operation for not doing more to prevent Meghan's relatives from sniping at her during the run-up to the big event.

"Even the most cursory internet search would have thrown up a few red flags," she said. "Could they not have taken at least a few steps to get them on-side?"

Take a royal wedding tour on a double-decker bus through London ahead of the nuptials.

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CBC | World News