Meghan sad over father’s wedding absence

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Media caption Meghan and Harry driven along wedding route

Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father, who was simply expected to walk her down the aisle, will not be at her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday.

She said she hoped he could be given space to focus on his health.

Ms Markle and Prince Harry have held a rehearsal at St George’s Chapel, and a military rehearsal of the procession took place in Windsor.

Beforehand, Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the very first time.

Ms Ragland will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday, accompanied by Prince Harry and Ms Markle.

On Thursday afternoon, Prince Harry and Ms Markle were driven along the procession route with a police escort. The duke and duchess were also spotted in Windsor for the dress rehearsal.

It was the first time the duchess has been seen in public since introducing Prince Louis, her third child, to the world on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital in London little over three weeks ago.

The rehearsal in Windsor drew a huge selection of children, parents and pets who have been keen to get into the party mood early.

Many were dressed in red, white and blue, and waved union jacks as carriages and cavalry soldiers passed by.

The sun was out for the rehearsal – and looks set to stay for Saturday. BBC Weather is forecasting a sunny, breezy day, with temperatures reaching 21C (70F) in the late afternoon.

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Image caption “I have always been a daddy’s girl, ” Ms Markle has said of her dad, Thomas

Thomas Markle have been due to arrive in the UK in the times before the wedding to meet the prince for the first time.

However in the run up to the wedding, that he became caught up in controversy after allegedly staging photographs with the paparazzi.

The images showed Mr Markle – apparently unaware he was being photographed – carrying out preparations for the wedding, including being measured for a suit.

On Monday, Mr Markle reportedly told US celebrity news website TMZ that he wouldn’t normally attend the ceremony to avoid embarrassing his daughter.

TMZ later reported that Mr Markle wanted to be there – though it might not be possible because of health concerns.

In a third report, the website said that health issues and planned surgery would prevent him from attending after all.

Ms Markle’s estranged half-sister, Samantha, said he had faced “unbelievable stress”.

His absence leaves a big question mark over who will walk Ms Markle down the aisle.

Her mother, who arrived in the united kingdom on Wednesday, would be one option, as would Prince Charles, Harry’s father – or she could choose to walk alone.

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Media caption From carriages to very excited commentators, here’s how the BBC covered other royal weddings

Ms Markle has 10 bridesmaids and pageboys, all under the age of eight.

She decided against having a maid of honour because she wanted to avoid choosing between her closest friends.

The rehearsal of the carriage procession went largely with out a hitch, although some horses were seen veering out of line.