Royal brides who weren't given away by fathers

Naomi Gordon
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From Harper's BAZAAR

The royal wedding is just days away, but it is not without family drama and media intrusion in the wake of reports that Thomas Markle may no longer be attending.

It's been suggested that Thomas staged recent paparazzi photos, and The Telegraph is claiming that he told TMZ he had suffered a heart attack six days ago and checked himself out of hospital, when he had been intending to fly to Britain this week.

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Kensington Palace hasn't confirmed whether or not Thomas will be attending, but the palace has asked the public for "understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation".

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In the absence of Thomas, there is speculation that Meghan's mother Doria Ragland may take on the role of walking her daughter down the aisle, with royal correspondent Penny Junor telling Harper's Bazaar UK: "It is a terribly sad situation and I feel very sorry for all of them.

"I think for Thomas, the idea of walking his daughter down the aisle at St George’s Chapel in front of millions of viewers - and coming under the scrutiny of the world’s media - must have been simply terrifying.

"I would guess he will stay away, and my guess is that yes, Doria will walk Meghan down the aisle.

"And I think it will be enormously touching."

Besides, Meghan wouldn't be the only royal bride to break tradition by walking down the aisle without her father.

Queen Victoria (1840)

When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert at St. James's Palace in 1840, she was given away by her favourite uncle Prince Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex. Prince Augustus was the sixth son and ninth child of King George III and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Victoria's father died from pneumonia when she was just eight-months-old.

Princess Beatrice (1885)

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Queen Victoria went on to escort her fifth and youngest daughter Princess Beatrice down the aisle when she married Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885.

Beatrice's childhood coincided with the death of her father Prince Albert in 1861, and she became a close companion to Victoria - particularly when her older sisters married and moved away from their mother.

Victoria was initially against Beatrice marrying Prince Henry, but eventually relented after a year of persuasion, and only on the condition that she and Henry continued to reside with her, and that she would continue her duties as the Queen's unofficial secretary.

Wallis Simpson (1936)

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In 1936, a scandal erupted when Edward VIII abdicated so he could marry American actress and divorceé Wallis Simpson. The British Prime Minister at the time, Stanley Baldwin, had informed Edward that the public would consider his marriage to Simpson morally unacceptable, mainly because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England.

The couple married at the Chateau De Cande, in Monts, France on 3 June 1937. King George VI - Edward's successor as king - banned members of the groom's family from attending (via Time). Simpson was given away by her close friend, Herman Rogers, while Edward's best man was major E.D. Metcalf.

Princess Margaret (1960)

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On May 6, 1960, Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey and (as fans of The Crown will also remember in season two's finale) her brother-in-law Prince Philip walked her down the aisle.

Her father George VI died in 1952, with Queen Elizabeth succeeding the throne with Her Majesty's coronation in 1953.

So, it's also being speculated that Prince William might walk Meghan down the aisle, although Meghan choosing Doria may hold more sentimental value for the bride-to-be. As Meghan is a vocal feminist who has long been advocating women's rights, it would be a perfect nod to gender equality.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19.

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