Days before the royal wedding, the Duchess of Sussex’s father abruptly (and publicly) withdrew, citing health issues, after the embarrassment over his staged photos. The media storm was so tumultuous that Markle released her own statement: “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. 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.”
Much was made about who would then escort her down the aisle: her mother, Prince Philip, or perhaps no one at all. When May 19 came, she walked the first part of it herself. Halfway through, Prince Charles joined her and symbolically gave her away to his son. It was one of many poignant moments that day, which an estimated 37 million people watched in the US and UK alone. Now, Prince Harry is opening up about it in a new BBC documentary, Prince, Son, and Heir: Charles at 70.
“I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming and he immediately said, ‘Yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs, and I’m here to support you,’” Harry said. “For him, that’s a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know he’s our father so of course he’s gonna be there for us.”
And the gesture was certainly appreciated by Harry, now the Duke of Sussex—cameras caught him saying “thank you, pa” when they reached the altar. “It’s the things he does behind the scenes that people don’t know about,” Harry said. “I don’t think people realize quite how kind he is.”
It’s said that the gesture cemented a “very close” bond between Markle and her now-father-in-law, who also share a keen interest in British history. Looks like the new royal baby will have quite the doting grandfather.
This article first appeared on Vogue.com