LONDON (Reuters) – Meghan Markle’s father will walk her down the aisle when the American actress marries Britain’s Prince Harry this month and both her parents will meet Queen Elizabeth and senior royals in the run-up to the ceremony, Kensington Palace said on Friday.
Both the bride-to-be’s divorced parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland, would have “important roles” in the wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19, Jason Knauf, Harry’s Communications Secretary told reporters.
“On the morning of the wedding, Ms Ragland will travel with Ms Markle by car to Windsor Castle,” Knauf said. “Mr Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St George’s Chapel. Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.”
There had been speculation about what role Markle’s parents, who divorced when she was six, would play in the wedding ceremony. Thomas Markle, 73, a former lighting director for TV soaps and sitcoms had said he had wanted to give his daughter away.[nL8N1O81P7]
Knauf said they would fly over from the United States the week before the wedding and both would for the first time meet their new in-laws including the 92-year-old queen, her husband Prince Philip, Harry’s father Prince Charles, Harry’s elder brother William and his wife Kate.
The detail about Markle’s parents was part of a slew of information released by Knauf ahead about the wedding which is attracting massive global media attention.
The three siblings of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, who was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 when he was 12, will be at the wedding with her sister Lady Jane Fellowes giving the reading.
“Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honored that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late princess on the wedding day,” Knauf said.
Harry and William, who is his best man, are expected to arrive on foot at the castle’s St George’s Chapel where the ceremony will be held. Markle will meet her father at the church after arriving by car with her mother.
No details were given of the guests but it has already been confirmed that no political figures would be present who were not personal friends of the couple. [nL8N1RN6FG]
Knauf also revealed that Markle would not be having a maid of honor, and that the bridesmaids and page boys would all be children.
“She has a very close knit group of friends and she did not want to choose one over the other,” Knauf said. “They have also been actively involved in helping her prepare for the day and are going to be there at Windsor on the day before in London and she’s very pleased to have their support on the day.”
One royal who will not be attending is William and Kate’s new son Louis who was born on April 23, although his mother and two older siblings, George, 4, and Charlotte, 3, will be there.
The queen’s 96-year-old husband Philip is expected to be there having undergone a hip replacement operation last month. [nL9N1NK01Y]
Knauf said the newlyweds would not immediately be heading off on honeymoon and would carry out their first public engagement as a married couple the week after the wedding.
One tradition of recent British royal weddings has been for the newlyweds to share a kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the ceremony, something that will not be possible with the marriage taking place at Windsor.
Asked if the world would see something similar, Knauf said: “I have no comments on the kissing today.”
Editing by Guy Faulconbridge