Following Kensington Palace’s announcement that Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, will not accompany his daughter down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry, we now finally know for sure just who will be taking on that role: according to another royal statement, Meghan’s soon-to-be father-in-law Prince Charles will do the honours.
‘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 statement read, adding that ‘The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.’
We have to admit it: we’re a little disappointed not to be seeing Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, shake things up a little by taking on this traditionally male duty. But Meghan’s decision to ask Charles to walk with her is certainly a significant gesture, and is perhaps further evidence of just how seamlessly Harry’s bride-to-be has been taken into the royal fold. It’s also interesting to note that the Prince of Wales will only accompany her on the second half of her journey down the aisle – from the end of the nave to the alter – and that the Palace have confirmed no one will be giving her away.
Despite having no daughters of his own, this will in fact be the second time that Charles has accompanied a bride-to-be down the aisle: he previously filled in for the father of the bride when Alexandra Knatchbull, a goddaughter to Princess Diana and close friend of the family, married Thomas Hooper in 2016. While Meghan’s father will not be present at St George’s Chapel tomorrow, Norton Knatchbull did attend his daughter’s wedding ceremony, meaning that her decision to have the Prince of Wales give her away at the altar raised some eyebrows. The fact that Norton had controversially abandoned his 31-year marriage some years before is thought to have played a part in Alexandra’s choice, as did her father’s frail health at the time of the wedding.
Meghan won't be the first royal bride to be walked down the aisle by someone other than her father. These are the royal brides who bucked the trend...
1840: Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria's father died before she turned one, so when she married Prince Albert in 1840, she asked her favourite Uncle (Prince Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex) to walk her down the aisle.
1866: Princess Helena
Should Meghan ask her mother Doria to give her away, it won't be the first time that this has happened at a royal wedding: Queen Victoria walked her third daughter Princess Helena down the aisle when she married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, five years after the death of Prince Albert.
1885: Princess Beatrice
Then, when her youngest child Princess Beatrice tied the knot with Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885, the by-now elderly Queen did the same.
1937: Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
For her low-key (but highly scandalous) wedding to the former King Edward VIII (later styled as the Duke of Windsor), the twice-divorced (!) American (!) Wallis Simpson was given away by a close friend, Herman Rogers. Members of the royal family were banned from attending the ceremony at the Chateau de Conde in France, by order of King George VI.
1960: Princess Margaret
As fans of The Crown will already know, Prince Philip accompanied his sister-in-law down the aisle of Westminster Abbey ahead of her wedding to Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Her father King George VI, who walked the then-Princess Elizabeth down the aisle when she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, died in 1952).
2018: Meghan Markle?
After much back and forth - and many contrary reports - it's now assumed that Meghan's father Thomas will not be attending her wedding to Prince Harry. So, will her mother Doria accompany her down the aisle? It's seeming more and more likely as the weekend approaches, but we'll have to wait until May 19th - or, at least, for a final dispatch from the palace - to know for sure.