"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 today. "The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way."
But why Prince Charles?
Kensington Palace had previously announced that Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, would be walking her down the aisle. After it was confirmed that he wouldn't be able to attend the wedding after all, many suspected Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, would step in to do the honor. Thomas Markle reportedly thought his ex-wife was the right person to take his place, and it was previously reported that Meghan wanted to break royal tradition from the beginning and have her mom, whom she is very close to, accompany her down the aisle at St George's Chapel.
But the reason why that isn't happening may be because of the Queen.
MarieClaire.com's royal wedding expert, Caroline Castigliano, explains that by tradition, if the bride's father cannot be the one to give her away, it would then defer to the second male in her family: in Meghan's case, her half-brother, Thomas Jr. "Normally it would go to the next male in line in her family, but I understand her brother is not coming. It's a very difficult situation."
"I think Harry would want to do what his grandmother sees as appropriate as a sign of respect to her," Castigliano continues. "They just wouldn't have her mother walk her down the aisle because it wouldn't be what made the Queen feel comfortable, especially at her age."
Because of this, Charles would be seen as the most appropriate choice because he's, well, a man, and Meghan's future father-in-law. It's a nice way for Prince Charles to show his support for his son, Prince Harry, as well as Meghan—but it would have been exciting for Meghan to buck to tradition and have her mother stand up with her on Saturday.
"There's going to be all sorts of opportunities for Harry to break with tradition and get things to move in a slightly different direction, but at this point I'm sure his respect for the Queen is the most important thing," Castigliano says.
But according to a royal journalist, the reason may not be because of royal traditions at all—Charles may walk Meghan down the aisle in an effort to take some of the pressure off of her mother. Duncan Larcombe tells Harper's Bazaar UK that his sources report that Meghan did ask her mother to step in, but they decided it was too much in the end.
"Doria and Meghan discussed it but she just didn't feel she could go through with it," Larcombe says. "According to the guidance I've been given, Meghan felt that it would be too much to expect her mother to perform such an important role when more than one billion people are expected to be watching."
Larcombe says it was actually Harry who thought Charles could be the one to step up. "I'm told that it was Harry who suggested asking his father if he would step into the breach," he says, explaining that Charles, who has 69 years of royal experience under his belt, is the perfect solution. "Just his presence by her side will calm Meghan and make the terrifying prospect of a royal wedding far less frightening. She will be able to let Charles take the lead and calmly make sure nothing goes wrong...In contrast if her mother was by her side, it would have been down to Meghan to perform that calming role."