Meghan Markle's mother is now the favourite to walk her daughter down the aisle after her father's withdrawal from the big day was confirmed today.
Doria Ragland has spent the night at Kensington Palace after being reunited with her daughter yesterday.
She was whisked off to the royal residence after touching down at Heathrow following a ten hour flight from Los Angeles.
The yoga teacher and social worker will now stay at the palace in west London until the day before the wedding on Saturday.
She is due to play a bigger part in proceedings than first imagined, after her daughter released a statement today confirming her father would not be attending.
Doria Ragland, pictured with Meghan, was whisked off to the royal residence after arriving in the UK yesterday
Miss Ragland is staying with her daughter at Kensington Palace, west London until the day before the wedding
She was met at Heathrow by some of Prince Harry’s most trusted aides and taken to Kensington Palace by royal Jaguar
Meghan Markle has described her sadness after revealing her father will not attend her wedding to Prince Harry
She said: '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 added: ‘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'.
Ms Ragland, 61, is now preparing to meet the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the next 24 hours.
On Friday evening she will move with the bridal party to the historic Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire, a 25 minute drive from Windsor Castle.
After being rushed through a private VIP terminal in the US, Miss Ragland flew into Heathrow where she was met by some of Prince Harry’s most trusted aides and taken to Kensington Palace by royal Jaguar.
The presence of Miss Ragland who is extremely close to her daughter and still calls her ‘flower’, will undoubtedly calm Miss Markle’s nerves in what has been an unexpectedly fraught and hugely emotional week.
Doria (left, leaving her home in LA on Tuesday, is supporting her daughter through the continuing drama over whether her father Thomas Markle (right) will be at the wedding
Miss Ragland is now supporting her daughter through the continuing drama over whether her father will attend the wedding
Miss Ragland is set to meet the Queen (pictured yesterday) and the rest of the royal family
With only two days to go, royal aides were still unable to confirm whether her father Thomas Markle will walk her down the aisle at Windsor Castle.
It appears increasingly unlikely however, that the reclusive Mr Markle, 73, will travel to Britain. It is claimed that he has suffered heart problems and is awaiting surgery, so may not be well enough to fly to the UK from his home in Mexico.
Miss Markle, 36, has told the former Hollywood lighting director that she is standing by him after weekend allegations that he was paid by a paparazzi to take part in a series of staged photographs in the run up to the big day.
Mr Markle has appeared to flip-flop over whether he will attend, at first appearing to say he would not, then saying he didn’t want to miss being a part of history and then changing his mind again to say it would depend on whether doctors would release him from hospital.
The episode has been a huge embarrassment to Buckingham Palace and has left aides facing questions over their handling of their issue.
Sources insisted, however, that strenuous efforts have been made to help Mr Markle, who is said to be a ‘proud’ man and reluctant to take help from his daughter.
They said that Meghan and Harry were forging ahead with their final preparations.
Friends of the couple told the Mail that while Meghan is ‘deeply concerned’ about her father’s physical and mental health, she is determined to focus on what she has left to do.
On Friday evening she will move with the bridal party to the historic Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire, a 25 minute drive from Windsor Castle
Meghan Markle's Suits co-star, actress Sarah Rafferty, pictured outside Buckingham Palace with her daughters Oona and Iris
Meghan with Jessica Mulroney (left) who is also in London with her three children, and Misha Nonoo, (right) the couple's rumoured matchmaker, shared a black and white snap of her in the capital
Fellow Suits actor Gabriel Macht and wife Jacinda Barrett, who also starred in the show, arrived in London over the weekend
Jessica Mulroney's children, including twins Brian and John, and daughter Ivy who will all be at the wedding
It comes as Meghan's glamorous posse of friends have begun arriving in London.
Her best friend Jessica Mulroney has arrived with her three children – Ivy, Brian and John – who were yesterday announced as being among the couple’s ten bridesmaids and page boys.
Prince Harry and Meghan's rumoured matchmaker Misha Nonoo has also arrived in London, sharing a black-and-white snap of herself in the capital captioned '#womnonthego'.
Meanwhile, Meghan's former co-stars are also making their way across the Atlantic, with Suits actor Rick Hoffman revealing on Instagram that he was heading east for a 'special event'.
Fellow Suits actor Gabriel Macht and wife Jacinda Barrett, who also starred in the show, arrived in London over the weekend and have been sharing snaps of themselves sight-seeing in the capital.
Windsor is continuing its preparations for the royal wedding on Saturday
Royal fans are already lining the route of the procession, including fanatic Donna Werner, who travelled from the U.S. to get a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan
Royal fans, who bundled up in flags and clothing bearing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's faces, set up camp behind barriers on the route the royal procession will take through Windsor
People who spent the night outside Windsor Castle pose for a photo early on Thursday morning
Meghan Markle's Suits co-star, actress Sarah Rafferty, pictured outside Buckingham Palace with her daughters Oona and Iris after arriving from the US.
Meanwhile Miss Ragland, who has reportedly quit her job at a mental health clinic to start her own private practice, flew into Heathrow on an overnight flight from Los Angeles.
Dressed casually in a T-shirt, linen trousers and canvas pumps, and carrying a suit bag containing what is believed to be her Burberry wedding outfit, she was picked up from the steps of the aircraft by a royal fleet Jaguar.
She was driven to Heathrow’s VIP Windsor suite, where Harry’s assistant private secretary Amy Pickerill was waiting with an immigration officer. A member of staff from the private office carried her bags.
Military personnel walk the processional route around Windsor Castle on Thursday morning
Royal wedding fever is gripping the nation and fans have already set up camp along the procession route
It is widely thought that should her former husband, with whom she is said to be ‘barely on speaking terms’, fail to show, it will be Miss Ragland who has the task of walking her daughter down the aisle. Some royal insiders have also questioned whether Prince Charles might step in to do the honours.
Senior royal sources dismissed reports that the ongoing family ‘soap opera’ had caused opprobrium in the Royal Family.
‘Let’s just say that this is a family well used to personal dramas and everyone feels desperately sorry for Meghan, particularly as it has all happened just days before her wedding day,’ said one.
‘At the end of the day, her father is his own man and she cannot control him.
‘Everyone could not be more supportive of her. Everything is going ahead as planned.’
Miss Markle’s nephew, Tyler Dooley, has said he hopes his grandfather will travel but said: ‘We’ll just have to wait and see.’
To add to the confusion, sources close to the Markle family told the Mail yesterday that Mr Markle had already been diagnosed with a heart condition and was due to undergo surgery to fit a stent, the same operation Prince Philip underwent in 2011, early next week – on his return from London.
Armchair guide to the royal wedding as timings for the big day are revealed for TV viewers
Millions of people across the country will be tuning in to watch the royal wedding live on TV.
Live coverage of the day’s events at Windsor Castle by the BBC will be presented by Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O’Leary among others.
Julie Etchingham and Phillip Schofield will lead ITV’s coverage.
Sky News is screening the proceedings in ultra high definition with Kay Burley presenting from a special studio on the Long Walk.
Here MailOnline provides an armchair guide to the royal wedding on Saturday...
Members of the public who have been invited to watch the wedding day from the grounds of Windsor Castle begin to arrive.
Wedding guests begin arriving at the castle’s famous Round Tower by coach. They will enter St George’s Chapel through the South Door and take their seats.
Guests will be arriving at the Round Tower at Windsor Castle by coach and will be seen walking to the South Door of St George's Chapel from 9.30am. The tower was closed to visitors in 1975 for major construction work and was under-pinned to prevent subsidence, but instead of reopening to visitors, it was later converted into office space for the Royal Archives in 2011
Members of the Royal Family begin arriving, entering via the Galilee Porch, some on foot and others by car.
Harry and his brother the Duke of Cambridge are expected to appear at the Chapel’s West Steps, probably on foot, walking past the thousands of spectators invited into the grounds of the castle.
This will give Harry an opportunity to acknowledge the 200 representatives from charities he is associated with gathered in the Horseshoe Cloister at the bottom of the steps.
Following protocol, the Queen will be the last member of the Royal Family to arrive.
Following protocol, the Queen will be the last member of the Royal Family to arrive at around 11.55am. The service will start at noon and everyone will already know most of what to expect as the order of service is being released at midnight on Friday. Her Majesty is pictured left at garden party on Tuesday and right attending the first day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show
With a minute to go, Meghan Markle is expected to turn up at the Chapel’s West Steps by car, from her overnight accommodation, with some of her bridesmaids and pageboys.
She will start her journey, which will take her past some of the crowds in the Long Walk, with her mother Doria Ragland - but when the car stops at the castle her mother will exchange places with her bridesmaids and pageboys, including Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Ms Ragland will enter the chapel by the Galilee Porch.
The service starts. Everyone will already know most of what to expect as the order of service is being released at midnight on Friday.
The newlyweds will emerge about an hour later at the West Steps of the Chapel. They will be waved off on their carriage procession through Windsor by members of both families.
The congregation will file out of the chapel to see the newlyweds leave before heading to St George’s Hall for the lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen.
The carriage procession through the streets of Windsor is expected to take about 25 minutes.
The congregation will file out of the chapel to see the newlyweds leave before heading to St George’s Hall for the lunchtime reception hosted by the Queen
The reception is not being televised and neither is the evening reception at Frogmore House, but viewers will get another glimpse of the royal couple when they leave Windsor Castle at 7pm for the evening do, which is hosted by the Prince of Wales.