Meghan Markle issues statement: 'Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding'

Meghan Markle has confirmed that father, Thomas Markle, will “sadly” not be at her wedding to Prince Harry — and hopes he can be able to have the “space to focus on his health.”

In her first solo statement issued by the palace, Meghan thanked people for their messages of support since the news first emerged that her dad was not going to the U.K. for the wedding.

“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” she said.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the Markle family drama ahead of the royal wedding

“I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday”

A royal source tells PEOPLE that Meghan “is very concerned about her father. But equally, she is excited about her wedding. She is with her mother and with her best friends, and is preparing for one of the most magical days of her life.”

On Wednesday, Thomas told TMZ that he successfully completed heart surgery and his doctors implanted multiple stents in his blood vessels. He remains hospitalized, according to TMZ.

The royal source couldn’t confirm the operation, but said of Meghan’s father, “He has told Meghan he cannot attend due to medical reasons.”

News of Thomas’ medical procedure came after he told the gossip site earlier this week that he had suffered a heart attack last week, but had checked himself out of the hospital so he could attend Meghan’s big day.

Then, on Tuesday, Thomas, who was the former lighting director on TV shows such as Married…With Children and General Hospital, said he was back in the hospital due to chest pains and had received texts from Meghan telling him that she wanted him to be present for her wedding.

The status of Thomas’ heart condition follows controversy surrounding the revelation that he had worked with paparazzi to stage several photographs ahead of the royal wedding.

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“She is ultimately concerned, as Prince Harry is, for her father,” the royal source tells PEOPLE of Meghan. “They have both been in touch with Thomas Markle in recent days, as they have for some time. They have been in regular contact.”

Meghan, 36, and Harry, 33, are due to wed at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Her mother Doria Ragland, 61, flew into London yesterday.

RELATED: Meghan Markle’s father undergoes heart surgery, remains hospitalized days ahead of royal wedding

Now, attention will focus on who will walk Meghan down the aisle on Saturday. The decision will be made “in due course,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.

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