AS the world counts down to the wedding of the year, many have attacked Meghan Markle and the Royal Family’s handling of her dysfunctional family.
Now that Meghan has managed to hide her tears at her final wedding rehearsal at Windsor Castle, some of her critics have questioned how she worded the statement about her father Thomas Markle, whose health has affected his ability to go to the wedding.
Some social media users suggested she was “suppressing emotions like a proper British Royal”, while others said she should have used the word “love”.
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton tweeted: “Interesting wording. She says I have always ‘cared’ for my father, not LOVED.”
But others defended her, acknowledging her difficult position.
Duncan Larcombe, author of Prince Harry: The Inside Story, told Harper’s Bazaar: “That is putting an end to speculation and accusations that Harry and Meghan didn’t offer a barrier of protection around Thomas Markle… She’s saying “cared for”, and that means, “I did try my best”.
The criticism comes after Meghan finally broke her silence over the royal wedding drama, confirming that her father will not be attending.
In a statement issued by Kensington Palace, Markle said Thomas Markle will not be present when she weds Prince Harry.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” the statement said.
“I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.
“I 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.”
Thomas Markle, 73, is said to be recovering in a hospital in Mexico after heart surgery.
Markle has been reduced to tears by the ongoing family drama.
TMZ reporter Sean Mandell, who appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, said Markle had called her father, and told him she loved him.
“I have heard in private Meghan was embarrassed and tearful about what happened with the staged photos,’’ he said.
“She is holding up from what I have been told.
“She is tearful at times and it has been trying for her.’’
The royal family has also come under fire for not sending a member of the household to see Meghan Markle’s dad before the wedding.
Etiquette expert Willian Hanson told the New York Post’s Page Six that Meghan must learn how to behave from Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge.
“My heart bleeds for Meghan, it’s not really what she’s banked on. I do think it’s interesting, one of the issues seen this week with members of royalty marrying commoners, is that when you marry someone who has not grown up in this environment, no matter how bright and intelligent they may be, it can be disconcerting and accidents can happen,” he said.
“The royal household should have sent someone out to talk to Mr. Markle immediately and others in Meghan’s family. But that didn’t happen — and it has blown up in their faces.”
The Queen will meet Meghan Markle's mum Doria Ragland tomorrow at Windsor Castle. Today, Ms Ragland met Harry's brother, Prince William, as well as Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte #royalwedding
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) May 17, 2018
Meanwhile, Meghan, her mother Doria Ragland and Prince Harry had tea at Clarence House with Charles and Camilla, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
According to the Telegraph UK, sources said it was a “jolly” encounter in the middle of a busy day of meetings.
Ms Ragland is said to have “thoroughly enjoyed” the gathering, feeling welcomed by Charles and Camilla.
Meghan’s mum also met William and Kate, dining at Windsor Castle.
Ms Ragland is also due to have tea with the Queen.
The Telegraph UK also reports that Meghan is delaying the announcement of a replacement for her father who cannot be there to walk her down the aisle.
She is reportedly waiting out of respect for him.
MEGHAN HIDES SADNESS AT REHEARSAL
Meghan’s face betrayed none of the strain of the past few days as she and Prince Harry were seen being driven into Windsor Castle after a dress rehearsal of their carriage procession.
The couple were driven together in a black four wheel drive which was followed by a fleet of security cars and police on motorbikes.
They drove along Windsor’s Long Walk and which leads into the castle where they will marry.
Fans lining the road screamed as the car drove past.
The spot is where their carriage procession will finish on Saturday.
Prince William was spotted with his wife Kate, the first time she has been seen since announcing the birth of Prince Louis. The Queen was also seen leaving Buckingham Palace in a car.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Hundreds of soldiers with starring roles in the royal wedding were put through their paces in Windsor for Kensington Palace’s only wedding dress rehearsal.
More than 250 soldiers and other members of the British armed forces took the streets of Windsor at 11:30am local time to practice the carriage procession Prince Harry and Meghan will make on Saturday.
Thousands of royal fans turned up to watch the procession and get a glimpse of the carriage Prince Harry and Meghan will ride in during their 25 minute procession.
The carriage being used by the newlyweds is an Ascot Landau and is the same one Harry rode in during Prince William and his wife Catherine’s 2011 wedding.
It is being pulled by the famous Windsor grey horses – including two male stallions Storm and Tyrone who are father and son.
Following the carriage were members of the Band of the Blues who performed a fanfare on drums and trumpets.
Also in the procession were soldiers from Harry’s former regiment the Household Calvary who marched diligently, two by two.
Other soldiers marched on horseback and members of the Royal Marines were also included.
Police were also out in force, including those carrying machine guns, to monitor security.
Former Gold Coast resident Nicola Price, who lives in London, took her 14-month-old daughter Sabrina to watch the procession.
“I think the wedding itself will be a bit too packed so I’m going to be watching it a home in my pjs, ” she told News Corp.
“But we wanted to come down today and soak up some of the atmosphere. It’s fantastic.”
WEDDING CAKE SNEAK PEEK
As wedding rehearsals take place, the creation of the wedding cake is also underway. Claire Ptak, the owner of Violet Bakery in Hackney, East London, has begun work on the lemon elderflower cake.
Meghan and Prince Harry decided to shun the traditional wedding fruitcake that William and Kate had at their wedding for this more modern take.
The cake will covered with “buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers”, Kensington Palace said last month.
The popular bakery makes cakes from organic ingredients and focuses on “food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and most importantly flavour”, according to Ms Ptak.
It is expected the cake won’t actually be eaten at the wedding, but rather put on display and later sliced and handed out as gifts the following day.
Instead, a second cake will be part of the wedding feast. This additional cake is said to a fruit cake.
MARKLE DEBACLE CONTINUES
Earlier, Meghan’s half-sister launched an extraordinary attack on the royal family, claiming they kept her father in the dark and didn’t give him any details about his trip to London.
Samantha Grant claimed Kensington Palace had not offered to fly Mr Markle to London early or give him details about how he would get there, and that neither Meghan or Harry had reached out since his heart attack last Tuesday.
“There was no actual contact from Meghan and she has not spoken with my father since the heart attack. I don’t know why, I’m not blaming her,” Ms Grant told The Sun.
“I know that contact has not been made (from Prince Harry).
“He was upset. He wanted to go. But his doctor had the overruling opinion he needed surgery. So he’s smart enough to know, ‘This is life-threatening.’
“It’s all been so heartbreaking and now my father’s in surgery.”
She also said that Prince Harry — who has never met Thomas — had stayed silent, claiming: “I know that contact has not been made.”
It comes after Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland arrived in London for an emotional reunion with her daughter, as Thomas told TMZ he would need “a long time to heal”.
“I’m OK. Staying in the hospital a few more days. Not allowed to get excited,” he told the website.
She added that Mr Markle was devastated by son Tom Jr who wrote an open letter saying Harry and Meghan should not marry. She said: “My father wants nothing to do with him.”
But last night Tom Jr looked to have had a change of heart, calling Meghan a “perfect modern princess”.
Markle’s half-sister is also reportedly recovering in hospital after a car crash with paparazzi.
It follows a horror few days for Markle, whose family members have dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons.
In what will no doubt be a welcoming comfort, her loving mother was given the VIP treatment as she landed at Heathrow Airport from LAX to be by her daughter’s side, amid speculation she will be walking Markle down the aisle.
Ms Ragland was immediately whisked away in a convoy. She was picked up by a Kensington Palace aide.
The 61-year-old yoga instructor was carrying a Burberry garment bag — which sparked further speculation that she may be wearing the luxury British designer to the wedding.
Thomas Markle reportedly told TMZ that he was out of surgery and that surgeons implanted three stents in his blood vessels.
The website stated he was “coherent and alert.”
TMZ also reported music legend Elton John will perform at the wedding, an understandable choice given his rich history with Princess Diana and the rest of the royal family.
He had originally had shows booked in Las Vegas for this weekend however they were abruptly rescheduled due to “scheduling conflict.”
Elton was a massive support for Prince William and Harry when Diana died in 1997, and famously performed Candle in the Wind at her funeral.