Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Alastair Jamieson

LONDON — Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, will not attend her wedding to Prince Harry, the bride-to-be said in a statement Thursday.

The American actress confirmed earlier media reports that her father would not be able to walk her down the aisle on Saturday. TMZ reported that he needed heart surgery.

“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” she said in the statement, which was released by Kensington Palace. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health."

Markle, a Los Angeles native, 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.”

The announcement came as a full carriage procession and military rehearsal got underway in Windsor, England, where Markle, 36, will marry Harry, 33, at St. George's Chapel.

Her mother, Doria Ragland, is still due to attend and meet her soon-to-be in-laws before the ceremony.

The American TV audience for the royal wedding is expected to exceed the 23 million Americans who tuned in for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

However, some 17 percent of Brits want to get rid of their monarchy, according to a poll.