news 4 days ago

Bridesmaids and page boys: royal wedding news digest

AFP

London (AFP) -

With just three days to go before the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kensington Palace on Wednesday revealed the list of page boys and bridesmaids who will attend the nuptials.

Here is a round-up of the latest news:

- Jetting in -

Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland landed in London Wednesday afternoon for the big day after flying 11 hours from her home in Los Angeles, according to British media reports.

The 61-year-old, who will spend Friday night with her daughter at a country estate near Windsor before going together to the ceremony Saturday morning, flew into Heathrow Airport's aptly-named VIP Windsor suite, the Daily Mail said. 

- Father-of-the-bride -

In the latest dramatic U-turn just days before the big occasion, Markle's father will not be able to walk her down the aisle on Saturday after all, as he will undergo heart surgery on Wednesday, according to US celebrity website TMZ.

Thomas Markle, who lives in Mexico, was due to have surgery to repair coronary damage and clear a blocked artery, after reportedly suffering a heart attack a week ago, it said.

There had been confusion over his plans after he apparently changed his mind repeatedly in recent days amid an embarrassing paparazzi scandal in which he posed for staged pictures. 

Markle senior has suggested Ragland would be a good choice to walk their daughter down the aisle instead, TMZ reported.

- 'Raise a toast' -

Victoria Atkins, a junior interior minister, signed the order on Wednesday that relaxes licensing hours for pubs and bars in England and Wales to mark the royal wedding.

Premises will be allowed to stay open an additional two hours until 1am on Friday and Saturday, following similar moves for Prince William's 2011 wedding, Queen Elizabeth II's 2012 diamond jubilee and the 2014 World Cup.

"I know that people across the country will be celebrating this memorable occasion and this extension will help us to raise a toast to the happy couple," Atkins said.

- Hometown support -

Los Angeles -- the city where Markle was raised -- has joined in the royal wedding frenzy with a giant card for the couple unveiled on Hollywood's historic Walk Of Fame.

Passersby can write their messages of support before it is sent to the lovebirds in Britain.

- Little helpers -

Markle's bridesmaids on Saturday will include three-year-old Princess Charlotte, the daughter of her soon-to-be brother-in-law Prince William.

Remi Litt, 6, and Rylan Litt, 7, the daughters of close friend Benita Litt and also her goddaughters will also be taking part in the wedding.

Ivy Mulroney, 4, the daughter of another close friend, Canadian socialite, Jessica Mulroney, is another bridesmaid, the palace said in a statement.

Four-year-old Prince George, who is third in line to the British throne after his grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William, heads up the list of page boys. Twins Brian Mulroney and John Mulroney, who are seven, also make the exclusive list.

- 'Mini stroke' -

Andrew Morton, who is best known as the author of a best-selling biography of Harry's mother Diana, suffered a stroke while giving a speech in London.

Morton, who has also written a biography of Markle entitled "Hollywood Princess", was speaking at a literary lunch for The Oldie magazine on Tuesday.

Morton took to Twitter on Tuesday to thank well-wishers. "Seems that I had a mini stroke, but am doing well & on the mend", he said.

- Homeless removals -

The Daily Mail reported that police were clearing away sleeping bags and other possessions belonging to homeless people in Windsor ahead of the wedding.

Simon Dudley, the Conservative leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council, caused an uproar in January when he urged local police to take action against "aggressive begging" and said homeless people were there out of "voluntary choice".

Dudley said homeless people were creating "a concerning and hostile atmosphere" ahead of the wedding.

- 'Glossy Canadian socialite' -

Jessica Mulroney, a close friend of Markle's whose three children will be page boys and bridesmaid at the wedding, has arrived in London, according to the Daily Mail, which published pictures of the family arriving at Heathrow Airport.

The paper described Mulroney as a "glossy Canadian socialite" who is married to Ben Mulroney, son of the country's former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

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