Wedding planning tends to encourage lots of ‘second guessing.’ Should it be a cocktail or formal banquet affair? DJ or live band? Should the theme be whimsical barnyard or urban chic? There are so many choices, I often found myself paralysed with indecision in the lead-up to my nuptials.
One thing I was extremely certain of though, was that I wanted my mother there with me when I walked down the aisle.
And why wouldn’t I? The tradition of having the father-of-the-bride give their daughter away is so dated and fails to recognise that, for many people, our mothers are the touchstones of our formative years. Mothers give their children so much but so often, mothers-of-the-bride are given a supporting role during a huge milestone in their child's life. They deserve more recognition than that. And so, I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle.
Which is why it’s a no-brainer that Kensington Palace should ditch patriarchal protocol and have Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, 61, give her away on Saturday.
After Markle’s father Thomas, 73, announced yesterday that he would miss the royal wedding due to having heart surgery, tabloids have been speculating whether Ragland will step in and perform the parental duty. And it wouldn't be as big a defiance of royal protocol as you might expect. As one royal historian Victoria Howard told UK breakfast TV “It wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. Queen Victoria walked two of her daughters down the aisle.”
So if it has been done before, can Kensington Palace just confirm it already? With revelations of Thomas Markle’s staged paparazzi photos in the lead-up to the wedding, and the fact that half-sister Samantha Markle is writing a book called The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, I’m going to hazard a guess that Ragland, a yoga teacher and former social worker, is a rare grounding force in the future Duchess of Sussex’s family.
Ragland is also the only of Markle’s family to have met Prince Harry (at the ceremony of the Toronto Invictus Games) and according to news reports, she was primary carer following her divorce from Thomas when Meghan was six. If anyone deserves to be there alongside Markle, it's her mother.
And how validating would it be to see the soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex—who suffered enough racial abuse at the start of her relationship that Prince Harry felt he had to release a statement condemning the attacks—enter St George's Chapel on Windsor Castle with her African-American mother by her side?
As more brides include their mothers in their wedding ceremonies (heck, I have one friend who had her dear Nan walk her down the aisle), it’s hardly ground breaking for Ragland to give her daughter away while the whole world watches. And what a wonderful celebration of mothers it would be.
Royal Wedding LIVE will air live Saturday 19 May from 7:30pm AEST on SBS and SBS On Demand. Coverage of The Royal Wedding will follow at 9pm AEST.