Meghan Markle's father to walk her down the aisle at wedding with Prince Harry

Meghan Markle's half-sister has confirmed their father will walk his daughter down the aisle when she marries Prince Harry.

Samantha Markle said, barring a disaster, Thomas Markle will take his place beside Harry's bride-to-be before the wedding ceremony begins.

There had been speculation about whether Mr Markle would be invited to perform the traditional role of the father of the bride and give his daughter away, when she weds on May 19 at Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel.

But during a television interview, when asked by broadcaster Matthew Wright if her father would be attending the wedding, Samantha Markle replied: "Yes he is, God forbid unless a plane crashes through his roof, he'll be there one way or the other."

Speaking from Florida, she told Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff: "So any rumour to the contrary is ... my favourite new word is becoming, 'Oh rubbish'. Yeah, so he will be there."

During the interview she distanced herself from comments about a tweet she posted which was widely interpreted as criticising Harry after he said his relatives were the family his actress fiancee "never had".

When it was suggested the prince's comments were "hurtful" she replied she was not hurt, adding: "My response was very positive verbatim and taken far out of context.

"There was never slamming, it was never negative.

"And, you know, so respectfully so, Harry said a lovely thing. But, and it's true, marrying merely extends that family."

Harry's comments about Ms Markle's family life came when he guest edited BBC Radio 4's Today programme in December, and was asked about his bride-to-be's experience meeting the royal family over Christmas.

The prince told Today presenter Sarah Montague: "No look, she's done an absolutely amazing job.

"She's getting in there and it's the family I suppose that she's never had."

But her half-sister Ms Markle, who is also known as Samantha Grant, contradicted Harry's comments on Twitter: "Actually she has a large family who were always there with her and for her."

Meghan's mother is Doria Ragland, an African-American, who met her father Thomas Markle on the set of the US soap General Hospital, where he worked as a lighting director when she was a temp in the studio.

They divorced when Ms Markle was six.

Although she lived with her mother in Los Angeles, Ms Markle also spent a great deal of time with her father.

Ms Markle has two half-siblings, Samantha Markle and Thomas Markle Junior, from her father's first marriage to Roslyn Markle.

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