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By: Max Foster and Judith Vonberg, CNN
(CNN) — Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at her wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday, Kensington Palace announced Friday.
“Ms. Meghan Markle has asked His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to accompany her down the aisle of the Quire of St George’s Chapel on her Wedding Day,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.
The news came a day after Markle confirmed that her father’s poor health would prevent him from traveling to the UK for the wedding and giving his daughter away as planned.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” Meghan Markle said in a statement provided by Kensington Palace Thursday.
Charles, Harry’s father and Meghan’s future father-in-law, has experience stepping in to assist brides on their big day. In 2016, he walked Alexandra Knatchbull — a goddaughter of the late Princess Diana — down the aisle when she married Thomas Hooper, as her estranged father watched from the pews.
As preparations continued on Friday, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip, 96, will attend the wedding on Saturday, less than two months after he had hip surgery.
‘Part of the family’
In a post-engagement interview with the BBC in November, Prince Harry said that his father was one of the first members of his family to meet Markle.
“The family together have been absolutely solid support,” he said.
Markle also had warm words for the royal family. “The family has been great,” she said, adding that she was starting to feel “a part of not just the institution but also part of the family.”
The ceremony takes place at noon local time (7 a.m. ET) on Saturday. Markle will arrive at Windsor in a car with her mother, Doria Ragland, traveling up to the castle via the Long Walk, where members of the public will get their first glimpse of the bride.
The car will stop at the castle to let Meghan’s mother out and pick up some of the bridal party before continuing to the church. There will be six young bridesmaids and four page boys in total, with Prince Harry’s nephew Prince George and niece Princess Charlotte among them.
Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, will meet Queen Elizabeth for tea at Windsor Castle Friday, Kensington Palaace said.
Ragland met several other members of the British royal family Thursday. She had tea with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall — father and step-mother — at Clarence House in London. Later, she met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, during wedding rehearsals in Windsor.
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