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Royal wedding 2018: Prince Charles to walk Meghan down the aisle

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Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle on Saturday when she marries Prince Harry, Kensington Palace has said.

Ms Markle’s father, Thomas, is unable to attend the wedding, after undergoing heart surgery.

The Prince of Wales was “pleased to be able to welcome Ms Markle to the Royal Family in this way”, the palace added.

Prince Harry’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, will also attend the wedding, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

Prince Philip, 96, has been recovering from a hip operation.

Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, will take her daughter to the wedding at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Ms Ragland will meet the Queen for the first time at Windsor Castle later, accompanied by Meghan, 36, and Prince Harry, 33.

She has already been introduced to Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The ceremony begins at 12:00 BST and will be broadcast to the world.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at Windsor Castle a day before their wedding to meet the Queen

Mr Markle had been due to arrive in the UK earlier this week, but became caught up in controversy over the apparent staging of photographs with the paparazzi.

Speaking to the BBC from Windsor, American celebrity news site TMZ’s Sean Mandell said he had spoken to Mr Markle on Wednesday and that he was “doing well” and “recovering from surgery”.

Mr Mandell – who broke the story – said Mr Markle realised on Tuesday that he would not be travelling to Windsor.

“Chest pains were really being exacerbated by the emotional strain he was under,” he said.

“When doctors told him he needed to have surgery, he decided he needed to heed that advice, despite the fact he wanted to be here in Windsor for Meghan.”

“He definitely feels he’s been mis-characterised,” Mr Mandell added. “That’s why he felt the need to speak out when I reached him.”

Ms Markle released a statement on Thursday saying she hoped her father could be given space to focus on his health.

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Media captionTMZ’s Sean Mandell says Thomas Markle thinks “news reports are not accurate”

Ms Markle’s mother met William and Catherine and their eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, at Windsor Castle on Thursday afternoon.

She took tea with Prince Charles and Camilla at Clarence House in London on Wednesday.

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Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland (left) had been rumoured to be walking her daughter down the aisle

Ms Markle will have 10 bridesmaids and pageboys, who are all under the age of eight.

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

The view from Windsor

By Hanna Yusuf, BBC News

Asdrubal Medina and Reina Reyes have travelled from the Netherlands to witness Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

Waiting outside Windsor Castle on Friday afternoon, they hope to catch a glimpse of Doria Ragland, as she arrives for tea with the Queen.

Their hats carry the Dutch national colours, and their pseudonyms for the next few days are “Willem” and “Maxima” – the names of the King and Queen of the Netherlands.

“It’s all so very exciting, we love a royal wedding,” said Reina Reyes, who made sure to point out that the English translation of her name is “Queen Kings”.

The pair visited London in 2011 to see William and Kate’s wedding.

Mr Medina is however disappointed that Prince Charles will be walking Meghan down the aisle, as he was hoping her mother would take on the role.

Ms Markle will spend her last night before the wedding with her mother at the luxury Cliveden House Hotel, in Buckinghamshire, about nine miles north of Windsor Castle.

Prince Harry will be staying 15 miles away at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park in Ascot, with his brother, the Duke of Cambridge.

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Media captionHarry and Meghan’s royal engagements

In Windsor, royal fans have been arriving throughout the week, with the rehearsal of the carriage procession on Thursday drawing hundreds of children, parents and pets keen to embrace the party mood.

About 250 members of the armed forces are expected to take part on Saturday and up to 100,000 people are expected to line the procession route.

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The finishing touches, including a white, elderflower Swiss meringue buttercream, are being applied to the wedding cake.

Thames Valley Police has said it expects the town to be full to capacity by 09:00.

Full coverage of the day will be on BBC One from 09:00-14:00 on Saturday and streamed live on the BBC News website or on BBC iPlayer.

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