Meghan Markle has confirmed that her father, Thomas Markle, will “sadly” not be at her wedding to Prince Harry—and hopes he will have the “space to focus on his health.”
In her first solo statement issued by the palace, Meghan thanked people for their messages of support since the news emerged that her dad was not going to the U.K. for the wedding.
“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,” she said.
A statement from Ms. Meghan Markle: pic.twitter.com/TjBNarmuBU
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2018
“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.”
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A huge thank you to His Royal Highness Prince Harry and Ms Markle, for allowing me to take their official engagement portraits. Not only was it an incredible honour, but also an immense privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for each other. I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took. @Kensingtonroyal
A royal source tells PEOPLE that Meghan “is very concerned about her father. But equally, she is excited about her wedding. She is with her mother and with her best friends, and is preparing for one of the most magical days of her life.”
The royal source couldn’t confirm the operation, but said of Meghan’s father, “He has told Meghan he cannot attend due to medical reasons.”
Over the past several days, Thomas’ attendance at Harry and Meghan’s upcoming nuptials has been in question. On Monday, he said he would not attend the wedding in order to avoid embarrassing the royal family and his daughter after it was revealed that he had worked with paparazzi to stage several photographs ahead of the royal wedding. Then on Tuesday, he told TMZ that he wanted to make it to London to walk Meghan down the aisle, pending his health. He said he received texts from Meghan telling him that she wanted him to be present for her wedding.
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“She is ultimately concerned, as Prince Harry is, for her father,” the royal source tells PEOPLE of Meghan. “They have both been in touch with Thomas Markle in recent days, as they have for some time. They have been in regular contact.”
Meghan, 36, and Harry, 33, are due to wed at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday. Her mother, Doria Ragland, 61, flew into London yesterday and spent the afternoon with the couple.
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Now, attention will focus on who will walk Meghan down the aisle on Saturday. The decision will be made “in due course,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.