Why In-Laws Can Be One Of The Best Things About Getting Married

Announcing that Prince Charles will walk Meghan down the aisle says so much more than it seems at first glance.

Prince Charles will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle in a few hours and just writing that tips me over a little. I’ve been married, you see, and one of the tremendous joys of that union was inheriting an extra set of parents, parents who -- despite having known me for less than a year -- not only accepted me but loved me like I was their own.

My father-in-law did not walk me down the aisle. My own father did, as per tradition, but it could have been both of them really. Perhaps it should have been. But hindsight, you know.

Announcing that Prince Charles will walk Meghan down the aisle says so much more than it seems at first glance. It says that, despite the difficulties that have swirled around Meghan and her family, despite the fact that she’s divorced, a different nationality and slightly older than Prince Harry, the Windsors already regard her as family. Again -- tips me over a little.

The aisle in St George's Chapel down which Prince Charles will accompany Meghan Markle. Image: Getty.

My in-laws, ex in-laws now, were the same. And I absolutely know, without a sliver of a doubt, that if my own father had not been able to walk me down the aisle, my father-in-law would have offered to step into his place. Not only offered, but been genuinely delighted.

Kensington Palace announced the news via Twitter on May 18, just 24 hours before the wedding was scheduled to take place.

"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 Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms Markle to The Royal Family in this way," it read.

It’s difficult to know if she really did ask her future father-in-law to step in or not. Perhaps she did. Perhaps her fiancé Prince Harry encouraged her to do so. No matter really. The fact is Prince Charles will walk his future daughter-in-law down the aisle and I’m weeping a little bit about that already.

It’s a gesture that says so much. It’s a gesture that says love and welcome and we accept you. It’s a gesture that says we don’t love you because we have to, we love you because we choose to. And that you’re worthy of that love -- and more.

I’m not sure where I picked up the idea that in-laws were difficult. That they interfered with your new life with their son or daughter and that they made it clear, at all times, that you were not good enough. That didn’t happen to me. At all.

I remember distinctly driving with my father-in-law one day. We were crossing the harbour bridge and I turned to him and let him know that I was so grateful that he was driving, taking me to whatever appointment it was. That I don’t remember at all. And it doesn’t matter. What does is that I thanked him. And I recall the exact words he said.

“That’s what dads do.”

And, like I say, it tipped me over. Here was this man who for the vast majority of his life hadn’t known I existed. A man who not only gave his son his blessing to take me on as a wife, but to accept me, no, regard me, as his daughter.

It will stay with me forever. Just like this seemingly small gesture of Prince Charles will stay with Meghan.