With Meghan’s dad, Thomas Markle, unable to attend the wedding, Meghan has asked her future father-in-law, Charles, to take his place and walk her down the aisle. And even though Charles doesn’t have any daughters of his own, it won’t be the first time he’s walked a bride down the aisle on her wedding day: He previously walked a close family friend, Alexandra Knatchbull, down the aisle at her wedding to Thomas Hooper in 2016.
Knatchbull is goddaughter of the late Princess Diana and the daughter of Norton Knatchbull, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma (then Lord Brabourne), one of Charles’ close friends. Family drama around the time of her wedding led to Charles to do the honors of giving the bride away. According to the Daily Mail, Norman had left his wife of 31 years, Alexandra’s mother, for another woman, and moved to the Bahamas. Though he returned home to the U.K. in 2014, tensions still ran high between father and daughter, and Alexandra asked Charles to accompany her down the aisle instead.
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Charles has a special family connection to the bride and her family. Alexandra is the great-grandaughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Philip‘s uncle and Charles’s great-uncle, whom he viewed as a father figure. Lord Mountbatten was killed in 1979 after an attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
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Meghan asked Charles to walk her down the aisle after she announced on Thursday that her father would not be able to attend her wedding as originally planned.
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“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 announced in a statement. “The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.”