The bride originally planned to have her father Thomas Markle Sr. do the duty, but he underwent surgery on Wednesday after recently suffering a heart attack. His health troubles coincided with scandal as well.
On Monday, Thomas admitted to staging paparazzi photographs of himself in order to improve his public image. The discovery of the fixed shots led him to state he would no longer attend the wedding "because he doesn't want to embarrass the royal family or his daughter." Kensington Palace confirmed Thomas's absence on Thursday, issuing a brief statement from Meghan herself.
“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.”
Luckily, Prince Charles is definitely up to the task. He's escorted a bride down the aisle before, accompanying Alexandra Knatchbull when she married Thomas Hooper in 2016. Knatchbull is 's great granddaughter and the couple ceremony was deemed "the society event of the year."
Meghan reportedly consulted with her mom Doria Ragland before asking Prince Charles to do the job. A mother had accompanied her daughter at a royal wedding before: Queen Victoria gave away her youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1885 when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg.
However, given the intense scrutiny the Markle family has undergone, Meghan and her mom apparently (and understandably) decided against it.
"It was Harry who suggested asking his father if he would step into the breach," royal journalist Duncan Larcombe told . "Doria and Meghan discussed it but she just didn't feel she could go through with it. According to the guidance I've been given, Meghan felt that it would be too much to expect her mother to perform such an important role when more than one billion people are expected to be watching."
Given Prince Charles's ample experience with high-profile events, it's understandable that he's more comfortable with the prospect.
"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," Kensington Palace said the announcement. "The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way."