Well, this is a twist ... Meghan Markle's mom will not walk her down the aisle and give her away Saturday ... instead Meghan's gone the royal route.
Kensington Palace just announced Prince Charles, Harry's dad, will do the honors. The Palace says, "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."
The statement goes on ... "The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way."
TMZ broke the story ... Meghan's dad, Thomas, wanted to do the honors but couldn't fly to England because of heart surgery. Meghan's mom, who is in England for the wedding and her only immediate family member invited, was expected to walk the walk but, clearly, there were other plans.
The Palace made it clear in the statement ... it was Meghan's decision.
California baker Claire Ptak is hard at work finishing up the staple for any wedding ... this cake contains 200 Amalfi lemons, and 10 bottles of elderflower cordial.
The 3 layers are each different sizes ... unusual, says the baker. She calls her creation an 'ethereal layered lemon and elderflower cake.' It's actually a sponge cake of sorts ... the sponge is sandwiched with lemon curd and swiss meringue buttercream.
The cake will be served at Windsor Castle, where roughly 600 guests will chow down.
24 Hour Fitness anyone?
Samantha Markle tells TMZ she's hosting a viewing party to watch the Royal Wedding Saturday at her Florida home with her boyfriend and some friends. It'd be nice if more fam could be there, but as we've reported ... a lot of them are already in England.
We're told Samantha and co. are planning on dressing up in formal wear -- she'll be rockin' a nice dress and a vintage art deco hat, and plans on decorating too. She says it'll be bittersweet to watch Meghan walk down the aisle, 'cause she still loves her.
Here's the kicker ... Samantha says she and her camp will be hiring off-duty police officers to patrol her home during the ceremony, so creepers don't roll up onto her crib and disrupt the festivities. Can't blame her ... Samantha's been making waves in the media lately.
BTW ... she tells us she's recovering nicely after a paparazzi run-in this week that left her hospitalized. She says she's got a sprained ankle and knee, and some torn ligaments ... but that she thinks she'll be fine for now. Ditto for her dad, apparently.
Grace van Cutsem stole the show when she was photographed covering her ears and scowling during Kate Middleton and Prince William's iconic kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony back in 2011. Guess what she looks like now at age 10!
Meghan Markle's half-sister says England's new princess-to-be has no right to tell her when to talk, or what to say -- 'cause this is 'Merica, damnit!!! Yes ... seriously.
We spoke with Samantha Markle a few days ahead of Meghan's wedding with Prince Harry -- amidst a ton of family drama brewing among the Markles -- and she tells us she doesn't care if her sis wants her to refrain from blabbing to the media as much as she has.
Samantha insists she's not bad-mouthing Meghan ... she's just defending herself. And besides, Samantha says whatever censorship laws the U.K. have on the books don't apply to her across the pond ... even if Meg's now a big deal there.
You gotta hear her for yourself -- she's certainly got her opinions of Meghan.
BTW ... we dared to ask Samantha if she got Meg and Harry a wedding gift.
Doria Ragland got picked up Tuesday at her L.A. home, where she and her luggage were loaded into a chauffeur-driven SUV. A Caddy, of course. Doria's first class journey started even before she boarded her flight.
You gotta see her arrival to LAX. Doria was dropped off at the new Private Suite -- a terminal reserved for the super rich and famous, which guarantees her privacy before she's driven across the tarmac ... directly to her flight. It also costs several thousand dollars just to enter the place, but we're guessing QE2's covering that.
TMZ broke the story ... Thomas Markle, Meghan's dad, will almost definitely NOT be able to attend the wedding because he's undergoing a heart procedure Wednesday.
Doria's expected to step in and do the honors of "giving away" Meghan on Saturday. Makes sense her travel's fit for a queen -- or at least the mother of a princess-to-be.
Thomas Markle is not going to walk his daughter, Meghan, down the aisle Saturday, nor will he travel to England, because we've learned he's dealing with something far more serious ... major surgery.
Thomas tells TMZ, he will go into surgery at 7:30 AM Wednesday. He tells us, "They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed."
TMZ broke the story, Thomas had a heart attack a week ago and began having chest pains Monday. He checked himself into the hospital Tuesday and a battery of tests determined he needed surgery. Thomas said the heart attack did significant damage.
As we reported, he had decided Monday not to attend the wedding because he felt he had embarrassed Meghan and the Royal Family by staging a photo op with a paparazzi agency. Thomas' daughter, Samantha, tells us he received only $1,500 in payment plus a small percentage of the royalties.
Thomas had a change of heart Tuesday ... after receiving texts from Meghan saying she loved him and was concerned for his health. He told us he hoped he could get out of the hospital and travel to England to walk Meghan down the aisle, but now he realizes it's all but impossible given the upcoming surgery.
BTW, Thomas also says he believes the open letter his son, Thomas Jr., wrote to Prince Harry discouraging him from marrying Meghan is what triggered his heart attack.
Meghan Markle's dad has had a change of heart -- this after his daughter contacted him -- and he now wants to go to England and walk her down the aisle ... but there's a serious snag.
Thomas Markle just told us he's back in the hospital after experiencing serious chest pains and doctors are performing a battery of tests on him. He says the doctors told him his heart was "seriously damaged" after his heart attack a week ago.
Thomas tells TMZ Meghan tried calling him Monday but he was not near his phone. She followed up with a text telling him she loved him and was concerned about his health. He says she harbors no ill feelings toward him for making a deal with a paparazzi agency to stage photos of him getting ready for the wedding.
As for the Queen being upset with him, Thomas scoffed, saying, "I don't think the Queen is thinking about what I'm doing."
Thomas says he's thought about it and now believes what he did with the photos was not a serious transgression, although he calls it "stupid." He says he now wants to make the trek to England, telling us, "I hate the idea of missing one of the greatest moments in history and walking my daughter down the aisle."
Thomas says if doctors let him out of the hospital he will risk his health and fly to England so he can be with his daughter. Whether he gets released this week is problematic. Thomas says he's lobbied the doctors, asking if he can get out Wednesday, but they have been noncommittal.
As for his eldest daughter, Samantha, talking to the press, Thomas echoed the sentiment our Meghan Markle sources have sounded, saying Samantha has had no real relationship with Meghan as an adult and has no knowledge of Meghan's relationship with Prince Harry.
Bottom line, he says, "Of course I'd walk her down the aisle. This is a historic moment. I'd like to be a part of history."
Kensington Palace was caught flatfooted by TMZ's story that Meghan Markle's dad will not walk his daughter down the aisle ... because we found out the palace had made elaborate plans for him.
Our palace sources say the plans included a security detail for Thomas Markle, along with accommodations and access to various events.
TMZ broke the story ... Thomas Markle told us he would not attend the wedding because he felt shame that he made a deal with a paparazzi agency that photographed him in staged shots.
One source connected to Meghan confirms what we posted Monday ... that Meghan's mom is now the frontrunner to give her daughter away. We're told the 2 are extremely close.
As for who's not close to Meghan ... her half-sister, Samantha Grant. Our Meghan sources say the 2 have "absolutely no relationship" and "she knows nothing about Meghan's life." The sources warn that Samantha is trying to take the media for a ride by planting stories with no basis in fact.
Finally, we tried to find out if Meghan has reached out to her dad to see if she could change his mind. So far, no word back.
Meghan Markle's dad is hurting from the fallout over his deal with a paparazzi agency -- hurting both physically and emotionally, and it looks like he's going back to the hospital as early as Monday night.
Thomas Markle tells TMZ, he's experiencing serious chest pains ... this after his heart attack 6 days ago. He says the pains have been triggered by emotional upset. He specifically mentioned his oldest daughter, Samantha Grant, who has been shading Meghan in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
Thomas tells us, "I've been popping Valium for the pain, especially when I hear about my oldest daughter."
He tells us he has not heard from Meghan since TMZ ran the story that he has decided not to go to the wedding and give her away.
Thomas thinks Meghan's mother -- his ex-wife -- Doria Ragland, is a good choice for walking Meghan down the aisle.
He says he checked out of General Hospital in Mexico a few days ago, which he says is a "charity hospital," but he feels he needs to go to another hospital soon because he's worried he might be on the verge of another heart attack. The coronary he suffered 6 days ago was his second.
The guy who played Prince William in Lifetime's "Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance" says even he was surprised when he wasn't given a prosthetic to play the future king of England.
We spoke to actor Burgess Abernethy about his role in the TV movie, which was met with a ton of criticism because a lot of viewers didn't think he looked anything like the real Wills -- and turns out, Burgess didn't think so either.
Burgess says hair, wardrobe and makeup helped a little, and he's still got the bald spot to prove it ... but ultimately, nailing the accent was his saving grace and helped him embody Will's spirit -- even if he's not a dead ringer for the guy. Like he says ... it was his own version of PW.
As for the haters ... seems there's only really one critique Burgess cares about.
Meghan Markle's mom may have to make a quick transformation -- both in apparel and location -- because she's now the leading candidate to walk her daughter down the aisle.
Doria Ragland was going about her business in L.A. Monday, just 5 days before her daughter gets hitched to Prince Harry. The yoga instructor has been keeping a low profile, but that's about to change.
TMZ broke the story ... Doria's ex-husband, Thomas Markle, was supposed to give Meghan away, but he tells TMZ he's no longer going to the wedding because of the photo scandal. He made a deal with a paparazzi agency for some photo ops in return for cash, and the story presumably pissed off the Royals.
Thomas says he wanted to go to the wedding so badly ... he left the hospital prematurely after suffering a heart attack just 6 days ago because he wanted to attend the nuptials.
No official word on who will be substituting for Thomas, but we're sure it's not her half sister, so our money's on Doria.
Meghan Markle's father will not be walking her down the aisle Saturday ... he isn't going to the wedding at all because of the fallout over selling photos of himself ... TMZ has learned.
Thomas Markle tells TMZ, he meant no harm to Meghan or the Royal Family when he made a deal to allow a photo agency to take pics of him getting ready for the wedding. He says he had a reason and it was not principally about money.
Markle tells us over the last year he's been ambushed by paparazzi who have photographed him in the most unflattering circumstances ... buying beer, looking disheveled and reclusive. He's especially upset that they made him look like a lush. Thomas says he doesn't even drink beer ... he was buying it for the guards at the place where he lives.
He says since his daughter started dating Prince Harry he's been offered anywhere between $50,000 and $100k for interviews and he's turned all of them down.
Thomas says the paparazzi agency approached him, offered him money -- though nowhere near the reported $100k -- and he figured there was no harm in it and it would help recast his image.
He admits the pics look "stupid and hammy." He says he was just going along with the paparazzi agency, which he now deeply regrets.
And, Thomas says, he suffered a heart attack 6 days ago but checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend the wedding. He's now decided not to go because he doesn't want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter.
Meghan Markle's extended family wasn't invited to the Royal wedding, but that didn't stop them from jetting off to London.
Meghan's nephew Tyler and his brother, Thomas Dooley, arrived at London Heathrow Airport along with their mother Tracy Dooley, who was the wife of Meghan's half brother, Thomas Markle Jr. Despite no invite, the family does have a purpose there -- they will be special correspondents on "Good Morning Britain" ... presumably dishing family deets for Saturday's big day.
Also not going to the wedding? Meghan's father, Thomas. TMZ broke the story ... Thomas decided not to go because he doesn't want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter. The decision comes on the heels of the fallout over him selling photos of himself.
Sources close tell TMZ ... Corden and his producing partner, Ben Winston, are on the guest list for next Saturday's wedding at St. George's Chapel in England, and BOTH receptions to follow.
This includes the reception immediately after the ceremony at Windsor Castle, and later in the evening at the more exclusive party at Frogmore House ... where Meghan and Harry snapped their engagement pics.
James and Prince Harry have been friends for years, but Corden previously implied he didn't think he'd get an invite to the wedding ... but he just wanted to go to Harry's bachelor party anyway.
Looks like he was just bluffing. Corden had recently bought Kate and Prince William a baby gift for little Prince Louis too, so there's no denying it -- he's royalty adjacent.
Mel B might've played too fast and loose with the truth by implying the Spice Girls were performing at the Royal wedding, 'cause they're not -- at least for now ... TMZ has learned.
Sources tell us that while Scary Spice and co. will, in fact, be attending Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's nuptials later this month ... there are no current plans to have the group perform at any point in the festivities. M&H haven't asked ... neither has Kensington Palace.
What's more ... we're told the Spice Girls haven't rehearsed anything for the wedding either, as of now, and with about a week or so before the Royal couple ties the knot ... it ain't likely they'll get an act together in time for a showstopper. The last time the Spice Girls performed together was in 2012 at the London Olympics ... so they're probably a little rusty.
As we reported ... Mel B led on that the Girls were hitting the stage together for the wedding while chatting with the ladies of "The Real." She didn't come out and say it outright, but she didn't deny it either ... which led everyone, including us, to believe just that.
Unfortunately, we're told she was getting ahead of herself ... 'cause there's simply no truth to that as of right now. Keep in mind ... the wedding is on May 19.
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All that said ... it wouldn't be implausible to see the Spice Girls possibly do something to entertain the crowd -- they're all gonna be under one roof for crying out loud, which doesn't happen all that often. Mel, Geri Halliwell and Emma Bunton recently got together ... sans Victoria or Mel C, though.
Hopefully, they can give us a bow ... a note ... ANYTHING to tease this upcoming tour of theirs.