Meghan Markle's sadness as rehearsals begin
HOURS after Meghan Markle issued a heartfelt statement about her father not attending her wedding to Prince Harry, the couple have been seen driving into Windsor as a dress rehearsal for the event got underway.
The pair will marry at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castel on Saturday in what has become a media event the whole world appears transfixed by.
Pictures showed the Prince sitting beside his fiance as they were whisked past huge crowds that had gathered to watch the rehearsal of the carriage procession.
Prince Harry and his new bride are expected to be taken along The Long Walk where as many as 100,000 wellwishers are expected to gather. Members of the British Armed Forces were among those who took part in the rehearsal.
The couple were driven into the Castle in a black four wheel drive just after the carriage procession. A fleet of security cars followed them in, accompanied by police on motorbikes.
They drove along Windsor's Long Walk as fans screamed as they drove past.
Their appearance was the first time they've been seen in public in days, and came just after Ms Markle addressed the drama surrounding her family and confirmed her father will not be attending the wedding.
In a statement issued Thursday night (AEST) by Kensington Palace, she revealed Thomas Markle, 73, will not be at Windsor Castle.
"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," the statement from the 36-year-old said.
And in what could be a comment aimed squarely at her own relatives, she insisted she had always cared for him.
"I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."
Family members - including half-sister Samantha - have suggested she and royal aides have not supported the ailing Mr Markle as the eyes of the world were on him.
"I 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."
Thomas reportedly told TMZ this morning that he was out of surgery and that surgeons implanted three stents in his blood vessels.
The website stated he was "coherent and alert".
Ms Markle was reportedly left in tears over her father's no show.
She is believed to have called him, to offer support after it was revealed he staged lucrative paparazzi shots of him preparing for her wedding.
Mr Markle had been due to meet his in laws, including The Queen, this week. Now he is expected to still be in hospital recovering from surgery.
TMZ reporter Sean Mandell, who spoke to Thomas Sr after his operation yesterday, said Ms Markle had been crying.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: "She is holding up, from what I've been told. It has been a tearful, at times, and a trying time for her."
It’s official - Meghan says her dad’s not coming to the wedding.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 17, 2018
She asks for him to be left alone, but it’s Thomas Markle who’s giving @TMZ all the news updates about himself. pic.twitter.com/oWvvcBoOPN
After initially not wanting to go after the photo scandal he changed his mind because he wanted to be with his daughter.
"He had a change of heart on Tuesday of this week actually, that after speaking with Meghan over text that he felt that he had prematurely maybe made the decision to pull out of the wedding."
Mandell said: "At the end of the day he realised, I'm a father, and I want to be there for my daughter, and I want to be part of history.
"Ultimately his health prevented him from being able to do that."
Her statement follows a horror few days for the former Suits actor, whose family members have dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Half-sister Samantha, 53, who has not been invited to the royal wedding, admitted she came up with the photo idea, and she was later branded a "vulture" on live TV for cashing in on her links to the royal-to-be.
Samantha and her two sons are possibly going to appear as special correspondents on an ITV show on the wedding day. The controversy surrounding them intensified after Samantha claimed she had been injured after a minor car crash supposedly involving paparazzi.
Her mother was given the VIP treatment as she landed at Heathrow Airport from LAX to be by her daughter's side, amid speculation she will be walking Meghan down the aisle. Prince Charles is another possibility.
Doria was immediately whisked away in a convoy. She was picked up by a Kensington Palace aide.
The 61-year-old yoga instructor was carrying a Burberry garment bag - which sparked further speculation that she may be wearing the luxury British designer to the wedding.