For many engaged couples, the idea of their families meeting each other for the first time is nerve-wracking.
So spare a thought for Meghan Markle who will be overseeing a meeting between her mother and the Queen this week. (No pressure then.)
Kensington Palace announced earlier this month that Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland would arrive in the UK in the week of the wedding, giving them plenty of time to meet Her Majesty, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and Camilla and William and Kate, before the big day on 19 May.
But Thomas Markle will no longer be attending the ceremony after health problems, Meghan has confirmed.
The news came after the 73-year-old faced a backlash for staging paparazzi photos for money. He also revealed that he had suffered a heart attack less than a week before the wedding.
Kensington Palace said that the situation is a “deeply personal moment” for Meghan ahead of the wedding.
“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”
Here is everything you need to know about the people who raised Meghan Markle.
Who Is Doria Ragland?
Doria Ragland, a 61-year-old yoga instructor and social worker based in LA, met Meghan’s father Thomas in the 1970s while she was a temp at the studio where he worked as a soap opera lighting director.
“I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques,” Meghan told Elle in 2015. “Whatever it was, they married and had me.” The couple eventually divorced when their daughter was six.
Meghan has praised both her mother and her father for their support. In a 2017 article for Glamour, she named her mother Doria as one of the ten inspirational women who had changed her life.
“We can just have so much fun together, and yet, I’ll still find so much solace in her support,” Meghan said, calling Doria a “free spirit”. “That duality coexists the same way it would in a best friend.”
Doria will also be there to support her daughter on the day she officially joins the royal family - Kensington Palace announced she will be accompanying Meghan on her journey to Windsor Castle in a car on May 19.
Unlike Meghan’s dad Thomas Markle, Doria has already met her future son-in-law - she joined Meghan and Harry at the Invictus Games in October 2017.
Who Is Thomas Markle?
Meghan once told Vanity Fair her father Thomas was proud of achievements as an actress “above all people”. “My father knew how hard it is for an actor to get work,” she said.
As an Emmy-award winning lighting director, it was thanks to the 73-year-old that Meghan got her first taste of the glamour of a Hollywood set, with Thomas working on a US sitcom during her childhood.
“Every day after school for 10 years, I was on the set of ‘Married… With Children’, which is a really funny and perverse place for a little girl in a Catholic school uniform to grow up,” the 36-year-old told Esquire in 2013.
Now retired, Thomas currently lives in the coastal city of Rosarito Beach, Mexico.
He already had two children before he married Doria in 1979 - a daughter, now called Samantha Grant and aged 53, and a son named Thomas Markle Jr, now 51.
However, neither sibling is expected to make an appearance at the wedding, with both contributing to negative press about their half-sister following the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry.
But despite the reported bad blood between his children, it was confirmed last week that Thomas would be walking Meghan down the aisle on May 19. “Ms Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion,” the Kensington Palace announcement read.
Samantha Grant previously told The Wright Stuff that her father would be at the wedding “unless a plane crashes through his roof”.
But Meghan confirmed on Thursday that her father will not attend, saying: “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 on Saturday.”