Before Prince Charles walked Meghan Markle down the aisle to marry Prince Harry, he performed the honor for Alexandra Knatchbull. Who is she and why would Prince Charles walk her down the aisle?
“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,” Kensington Palace announced, a decision that is earning Charles warm reaction from the public. But it wasn’t the first time the Prince walked a woman down the aisle who was not his child (of course, Charles never had his own daughter.)
The answer has a lot to do with Knatchbull’s lineage and with the actions of her father, Lord Brabourne, otherwise known as Norton Knatchbull, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
According to Hello Magazine, “Alexandra was the great granddaughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who Prince Charles was very close to and saw as a father figure during his childhood.” Mountbatten was murdered by an IRA bomb planted on a fishing boat, traumatizing Charles and the rest of the Royal Family. You can see their continued affection for Mountbatten in the continued use of the Louis name, most recently by Prince William and Kate for their new baby boy. Other members of the family were also killed that day.
The wedding of Alexandra to Thomas Hooper occurred in 2016.
There was a second reason that Charles was tapped to perform the duty, though. The bride’s father was embroiled in a scandal when he ran off to the Bahamas with a woman not his wife. He is pictured below with his wife.
Lord Brabourne ditched his wife of 31 years and, although his new relationship crumbled and he returned to England with his tail between his legs (and still married), People Magazine reports that his daughter had not forgiven him enough to ask him to walk her down the aisle.
Who did Lord Brabourne run off with? “In 2010 Norton Knatchbull, the eighth Baron Brabourne, abandoned his 31-year marriage to run away to Nassau in the Bahamas with fashion designer Jeannie Nuttall,” UK Daily Mail reported. Lord Brabourne’s wife is named Penny, and both members of the couple are very close to the Royal Family. According to Express, Lord Brabourne “is the godson of Prince Philip, godfather to Prince William and while at Gordonstoun acted as mentor to a young Prince Charles.”
Telegraph reports that Lord Brabourne had become “bored” with his escapades in the Bahamas, so he returned to England.
In Meghan Markle’s case, her father, Thomas Markle Sr., was supposed to walk her down the aisle. However, Tom Markle was exposed for having staged photos of himself that ran widely in the press. What followed after that was a chaotic few days in which Markle said he wasn’t going to the wedding anymore so as not to embarrass the Royal Family, and then took that back and said he couldn’t go after all because he needed to undergo heart surgery. Meghan released a statement asking the public to give her father privacy and expressing care for him. However, that left no father to walk her down the aisle. Enter Charles.