Meghan Markle’s parents to meet the Queen ahead of royal wedding
The American star will not be having a maid of honour, and Diana, Princess of Wales’s sister will give a reading.
Meghan Markle’s parents will meet the Queen ahead of the royal wedding, with both the bride’s mother and father having “important roles” on the big day, Kensington Palace has said.
Just over two weeks before ceremony on May 19, the palace revealed that Thomas Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle and Doria Ragland will accompany the American star by car as she leaves for Windsor Castle, ready to marry Prince Harry.
As Kensington Palace disclosed more details of the royal wedding, they also announced that Ms Markle will not be having a maid of honour and that her bridesmaids and pageboys will all be children.
Jason Knauf, the palace’s communications secretary, said: “Ms Markle will not be having a maid of honour.
“She has a very close-knit group of friends and did not want to choose between them.”
Prince George and Princess Charlotte will be at the wedding and are expected to be among the young helpers, but names have yet to be confirmed.
Newlyweds Harry and Ms Markle will also not be going on honeymoon straight away, but will carry out their first engagement as a married couple the week after their wedding.
Ms Markle has already spoken of her desire to “hit the ground running” as she becomes a full-time royal.
The bride and groom will spend the night before the wedding apart and Harry’s first glimpse of the dress will be as Ms Markle walks up the aisle.
“That tradition is very important to everyone,” Mr Knauf said of the dress.
The couple also wanted to make sure the prince’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in a car crash in 1997, will be remembered on the day, the palace said.
Diana’s three siblings – Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes – will all be present, with Lady Jane giving a reading.
Mr Knauf said: “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.”
The Duchess of Cambridge will be there, but Prince Louis, who will be less than four weeks old, will stay at home, and the palace said they hope the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh will be well enough to attend following his hip operation.
Ms Markle’s parents, who divorced when she was six and about whom she has written of with great affection, will arrive in Windsor the week of the wedding, and spend time with the royal family in the run-up to ceremony.
Mr Knauf said the bride was delighted to have both her parents by her side.
It will be the first time Harry has met his father-in-law to-be.
The former Suits actress’s mother and father will also be introduced to the Queen, as well as Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, ensuring they are welcomed into the royal fold.
“Prince Harry and Ms Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding,” he said.
“Mr Thomas Markle and Ms Doria Ragland will be arriving in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry’s family, including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day.
“Both of the bride’s parents will have important roles in the wedding.”
He added: “Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.”
Ms Markle will be met by her father at the Chapel ahead of the ceremony.
Asked when the public would see the newlyweds kiss, Mr Knauf replied: “I have no comments on kissing today.”
Best man William, who is president of the Football Association, is missing the FA Cup final – which takes place the same day – to attend the high profile celebrations.
There will not be a rehearsal dinner – more of an American tradition – but there will be rehearsals of the ceremony.
Mr Knauf added: “This wedding will be guided by tradition, allowing everyone to celebrate what makes royal weddings so special, but also one which reflects the personalities of Prince Harry and Ms Markle.”
He said the couple were “incredibly grateful” for the support they had received from the public, and Ms Markle’s welcome to the UK had been marked by “warmth, enthusiasm, and a real sense of fun”.
“As they have travelled around the UK in the months since their engagement last November, Prince Harry and Ms Markle have been incredibly grateful for the support they have received from members of the public,” Mr Knauf said
“The crowds that have turned out in Nottingham, Cardiff, Brixton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Belfast, Bath and elsewhere have given Ms Markle a welcome to the United Kingdom marked by warmth, enthusiasm, and a real sense of fun.”
Harry and Ms Markle will continue to live at Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace following their marriage.