Truth be told, I’ve always been Team Doria. When we were all still wondering who would walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at the Royal Wedding I was hoping that her mum, Doria Ragland, would be included in the party making its way through St. George’s Chapel towards Prince Harry on May 19th. But never in the circumstances that now seem to be emerging.
TMZ is tonight reporting that Thomas Markle won’t be at the Royal Wedding on Saturday following the row about staged paparazzi photographs. There is no official word, yet, from Kensington Palace but the news has raised the question of who will be at Meghan’s side at this huge moment in her life. To me, it makes perfect sense that if her father can’t be there then her mother should be instead. I always hoped both would be at their daughter’s side for this momentous walk. But Doria is just one of several possible options- so who could walk Meghan down the aisle?
The Prince of Wales
There is always the possibility that the father of the groom, the Prince of Wales, could walk his soon to be daughter in law into her wedding. It would be a rather moving gesture, a proper welcome to the family and a show of support at a time when Meghan may well need it if it turns out her own father won’t be there after all. In 2016, Prince Charles walked Alexandra Knatchbull, great granddaughter of Lord Mountbatten, down the aisle for her wedding to Thomas Hooper – a ceremony that the Queen also attended.
If it does turn out that Thomas Markle has decided not to walk Meghan into her wedding then another option is for the bride and groom to enter together and start their new lives together at the church door rather than the altar. It would be a real sign of strength from the couple and not unheard of in modern European times.
In 2001, when Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway married Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby they decided to walk into their wedding together. And the following year, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Maxima Zorreguieta did exactly the same thing. Both brides had seen debate arise around the role their fathers should play and began their path to marriage with their grooms at their sides.
The Bride Walks in Alone
Another option is for the bride to enter by herself although in reality the walk down the aisle is about support at a crucial moment in someone’s life – Meghan is more than capable of facing that life changing stroll by herself but everyone needs love and nurture on their special day. It’s probably the least appealing idea of them all.
But in this debate, all roads lead back to Doria. Mother and daughter will be together the night before the wedding, at Cliveden, and they will be making the journey by car to Windsor together on the morning of the wedding. It makes perfect sense for Doria to walk Meghan down the aisle if her father isn’t there.
Mums escorting daughters into their weddings is increasingly common. And, besides, this is a moment of shared togetherness, a time when a parent offers a steadying hand to their child and takes the chance to show the world just how proud they are of their offspring. Mums can do that without even thinking.
Support for the Bride
In 2018, the walk down the aisle isn’t about passing a person from one family to the next, it’s about offering love and strength at a very special time for the bride. That’s why it Doria seems such an obvious choice.
Meghan has a lot to deal with right now, wedding preparations aside. Her dad is a major figure in her life and the thought that he won’t be there for her marriage is no doubt really very sad for her indeed, whatever the circumstances that have led to it.
Let’s hope that she gets the wedding she has dreamed of and that when she walks down the aisle on Saturday, she knows that at her side she has all the support that she needs.