Meghan Markle surprised King Charles III with her unexpected response to his offering to walk her down the aisle, a book has claimed
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tied the knot on May 19, 2018, in St Geroge’s Chapel at Windsor Castle after announcing their engagement in the November of the previous year. Although it was an illustrious occasion the build-up to the ceremony had not been smooth sailing. Royal biographer Robert Hardman, writing in his book Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II, published this year, has given insight into what happened, including Meghan’s response to King Charles III kind gesture which left the Monarch somewhat taken aback.
In the build-up to the wedding, there was much speculation about whether Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle Sr, would walk her down the aisle. Meghan released a statement in the days before the wedding, confirming her father would not be attending the ceremony. It was thought he had undergone heart surgery.
The statement read: “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. 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.”
It was then thought that Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, would walk the Duchess down St George’s Chapel, but her soon-to-be father-in-law then stepped in. But according to Mr Hardman’s book, the response Charles received when he offered to do the honours was “not quite what he was expecting”.
Charles had told Meghan he would be glad to escort her, but the Duchess of Sussex had surprised him by asking him: “meet me halfway down”. Mr Hardman said she wanted to make her big entrance alone. Mr Hardman wrote: “Feeling for his future daughter-in-law, the Prince of Wales offered to step in, saying he would be honoured to escort Meghan up the aisle of St George’s Chapel to the altar. The reply, according to one friend, was not quite what he was expecting: ‘Can we meet halfway?’ Here was an indicator that this was no blushing bride, but a confident, independent woman determined to make a grand entrance on her own.”
Harry, in the BBC One documentary, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, aired in 2018, told how touched he was by his father walking Meghan down the aisle. The Duke of Sussex said it was he who had initially asked Charles but added that his father knew what was coming and agreed straight away. Harry told the documentary: “I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming, and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs and I’m here to support you’. For him, that’s a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know, he’s our father, so of course, he’s going to be there for us.”
Harry also later thanked Charles in a touching speech made at a garden party at Buckingham Palace to mark the King’s 70th birthday, held in 2018 after the wedding. According to Angela Levin’s book Camilla: From Outcast to Queen Consort, published this year, Harry made a “touching” speech, thanking his father for the “caring” way he had walked Meghan partway down the aisle. Ms Levin added that at that time, Meghan was seen as a “breath of fresh air” for the Monarchy with there being “great joy” that Harry had found someone to love and cope with life in the spotlight.
Since Meghan and Harry announced they were stepping back from their roles as senior royals more than two years ago, relations between the Duke and Duchess and the rest of the Royal Family have been strained.
However, a source told the Telegraph in September that there is a glimmer of hope for unity in the future. They said: “It remains the case that the King loves both of his children. Over the last 16 days or so, there were tremendous flickers of hope. In terms of the future, there is hope of a cause for unity.” Charles also mentioned Harry and Meghan in his first speech as Monarch as he said he wished to “express his love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas”.