The Latest: Meghan Markle’s mother has tea with the royals
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the preparation for the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (all times local):
Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland has had a series of whirlwind visits with senior royals since her arrival from California.
She met Prince Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife Kate and their two oldest children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 3, at Windsor Castle on Thursday afternoon.
Palace officials said Harry and Meghan Markle were also present, and that the meeting was followed by a rehearsal dinner.
Ragland also had tea with Harry’s father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on Wednesday. She has not yet met Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, but Buckingham Palace officials said she will meet the queen for tea on Friday at Windsor Castle.
Officials did not say if Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, will be present at that meeting. He is recovering from hip replacement surgery.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have remained out of the public eye in recent days, have been spotted being driven into the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Britain’s Press Association indicated they were expected to have tea Thursday with Queen Elizabeth II and may be joined by Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland. No details about the meeting were officially released.
The news came as British military personnel rehearsed for a gala procession through Windsor that will follow Saturday’s wedding ceremony in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which will be televised live around the world.
Also Thursday, Markle said her father will not be able to attend her wedding to Harry due to health problems.
Meghan Markle says her father will not be attending her wedding to Prince Harry, and has expressed hope that he can be “given the space” to focus on his health.
Kensington Palace’s statement Thursday puts to rest days of speculation about whether Markle’s father, Thomas, would walk her down the aisle — as the palace had previously said.
His participation was put into doubt after news site TMZ reported he would not attend because of embarrassment regarding paparazzi photographs. It later reported that he was having heart surgery.
Markle says she 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.”
Royal wedding organizers are preparing for a rehearsal of the proceedings to take place in Windsor — but without the bride and groom.
Planners will use Thursday’s practice session to finalize some of the details of Saturday’s gala wedding at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The festivities will include a 25-minute carriage ride outside the castle grounds by the newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the ceremony is concluded.
A large military contingent will also take part, reflecting Harry’s years of military service.
It is not clear who will walk Markle down the aisle. Her father Thomas Markle had been selected for that role but is reportedly ill with heart problems.
Markle’s mother Doria Ragland may take Thomas Markle’s place if needed.