WINDSOR, England — May 17, 2018, 8:07 AM ET

Meghan Markle says father won't attend wedding due to health

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Meghan Markle announced Thursday her father will not be at her marriage to Prince Harry due to health problems.

"Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding," she said in a statement released by Kensington Palace. "I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

The palace has not revealed details about 73-year-old Thomas Markle's health issues, but the celebrity website TMZ says he is hospitalized in California after undergoing a procedure to clear blocked coronary arteries.

He reportedly told the website he was ok but needed to rest. Thomas Markle had been scheduled to walk his daughter down the aisle when she weds her prince Saturday at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

It is possible Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle's mother, will fill that role instead. No replacement has been officially named.

Meghan Markle's statement came as military personnel rehearsed a procession on the streets of Windsor.

Planners used Thursday's practice session to finalize some of the details of Saturday's gala.

The wedding day festivities will include a 25-minute carriage ride outside the castle grounds by the newlyweds after the ceremony is concluded. More than 2,600 members of the public have been invited onto the castle grounds to watch the procession.

A large military contingent will also take part, reflecting Harry's years of military service.

Markle's mother has arrived in England and is expected to meet Queen Elizabeth II — Harry's grandmother — and other senior royals in the two days left before the wedding.

Ragland — who arrived carrying a Burberry suit bag, a possible clue to her wedding outfit — will visit with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Kate, and other members of the family her daughter will officially join Saturday.

The drama surrounding Mr. Markle, and harsh comments about Meghan Markle made by estranged members of her extended family who were not invited to the wedding, have increasingly dominated tabloid coverage of the royal wedding in recent days.

Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine on Thursday castigated Harry's Kensington Palace press operation for not doing more to prevent Markle's relatives from sniping at her during the run-up to the big event.

"Even the most cursory internet search would have thrown up a few red flags," she said. "Could they not have taken at least a few steps to get them on-side?"

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Martin Benedyk contributed from Windsor.

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  • mv75

    Can't wait for the royal wedding. Yes, scoff all you want but I LOVE a royal wedding. If it were being held on Friday I would have taken the day off from work. It's just too bad she's got "those" family members. I guess no family is immune from it but it's really rotten of them to try to ruin this day for her.

  • angelosdaughter

    Wishing Prince Harry and Ms. Markle the very best.
    Just had to note that royal family must have no sense of history. The wedding will be on Saturday, May 19th. On May 19th, 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed by beheading.

  • James Hurley

    English Royalty remains a vestige of a cannibal island kingdom carved from delusions, arrogance, and imbecility.

  • Noneofyourbusiness

    Can't wait for this circus to be over! Her family seems like a group of trash and attention hounds. Anyway, moving on....

  • TexasVulcan

    The British royals sure are the subject of tabloids. I am not sure I could take that kind of scrutiny.