By Jack Hawke in London
Meghan Markle’s father will walk her down the aisle for her wedding to Prince Harry, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
It ends months of speculation in the lead-up to the royal wedding over Thomas Markle’s involvement in the day, or if he would attend the May 19 wedding at all.
The palace also confirmed Ms Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, will stay with her daughter the night before the wedding and travel with her by car to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
As is tradition, the bride and groom-to-be will not spend the night together before the wedding and the first time he sees her on the big day is when she is walking down the aisle.
A statement from Kensington Palace said Harry and Ms Markle were “very much looking forward to welcoming Ms Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding”.
“Both of the bride’s parents will have important roles in the wedding,” the statement read.
“Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.”
Much has been made of how many family members of the US actress would attend the event, highlighted by an open letter penned by her half-brother Thomas Markle Jr and released by a US gossip magazine this week that warned Harry off marrying his half-sister.
Mr Markle, a former TV lighting director, married Ms Ragland in 1979 and welcomed Meghan in 1981, before divorcing in 1988.
He now lives in Mexico while Ms Ragland, a yoga instructor, is based in Los Angeles.
Kensington Palace said Mr Markle and Ms Ragland will arrive in the UK in the week of the wedding to meet with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Camilla as well as Harry’s brother William and sister-in-law Catherine.
It will be the first time Prince Harry has met his future father-in-law.
More details of the impending royal wedding have also been revealed:
While Prince Harry has picked his brother William to be his best man, Ms Markle has instead chosen to have no maid of honour, using young children as bridesmaids and page boys.
The palace said Ms Markle could not choose between her close friends, who will have no formal role to play during the ceremony.
At Prince William’s wedding to Catherine in 2011 Prince Harry was his best man, while Catherine’s sister Pippa Middleton was her maid of honour.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle will stay in Windsor on the night of their wedding but will forego an immediate honeymoon, instead attending their first public engagement as a married couple in the week after the wedding. A honeymoon is set to take place at later date.
In 2011 the iconic moment of the wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was a kiss between the pair on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of tens of thousands of people.
Kensington Palace has remained tight-lipped about a potential spot for the first kiss between the newly-married pair, with Windsor providing no obvious locations except for the front of St George’s Chapel.
All three siblings of Prince Harry’s mother Diana will attend the wedding, with her older sister Lady Jane Fellowes to give the reading.
“Prince Harry and Ms Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day,” a Kensington Palace statement read.
The palace said it was hoped the Duke of Edinburgh, who is still recovering from hip surgery, will be able to attend, while newborn baby Prince Louis will not be at the ceremony.