When Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, had to rescind his RSVP to her wedding at the last minute, some speculated that she would ask her mother, Doria Ragland, to replace him as her escort down the aisle. Instead, the bride decided to walk herself down the aisle until she reached the Quire, where she met up with Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles, to go the rest of the way.
Upon entering St. George’s Chapel on Saturday, May 19, Markle proceeded through the nave flanked by just her young bridal attendants. The nave is where the majority of the wedding guests were seated, so her decision to walk that part alone made a strong statement, especially since no royal bride in the UK had done so before her.
According to CNN, that was always the plan, though. The former Suits star — who, upon her marriage to Harry, became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex — reportedly intended to have Thomas meet her at the Quire, too. When he was unable to travel, she asked her future father-in-law to step in and “accompany her.”
The wording there, from Kensington Palace’s statement on the matter, is deliberate — and important. Prince Charles accompanied her through the Quire but did not partake in the antiquated tradition of “giving away the bride.” Instead, he stood back as she approached the altar to join Harry.
CNN described her plan as a “striking feminist statement.” Markle herself has not commented on whether that was her intention, but she’s been a vocal advocate for women’s rights throughout her life and career. In her first official joint engagement with Prince Harry, Prince William, and Duchess Kate, she spoke about her passion for empowering women and young girls.
“I hear a lot of people saying when speaking about girls’ empowerment, finding and knowing their worth, and women’s empowerment as well — you’ll hear often people say that you’re helping women find their voices,” she said. “I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice — they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
It’s safe to say people are listening to her now.
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