June 18, 2018 at 09:03 AM EDT

Meghan Markle‘s father says she was very emotional when he told her and Prince Harry that he wouldn’t be able to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day in May.

In an interview with the U.K.’s Good Morning Britain early Monday, Thomas Markle said, “They were disappointed. Meghan cried, I’m sure — she did cry — and they both said ‘Take care of yourself, we are really worried about you.’ They said the important thing is that I get better.”

The days leading up to the royal wedding on May 19 were filled with unexpected family drama for Meghan, 36. Thomas initially decided not to attend the wedding after his arrangement with a paparazzi to stage several photoshoots ahead of the big day was revealed. The next day, he said that he would attend the wedding — only if doctors signed off on him traveling after he reportedly suffered a heart attack. Two days before the wedding, Meghan confirmed in an official statement that her father would not walk her down the aisle due to health problems.

Thomas told GMB on Monday that he’d had heart surgery in May. He previously told TMZ of his health problems, and claimed of the surgery, “They [doctors] will go in and clear blockage, repair damage and put a stent where it is needed.”

Now, speaking to GMB, Thomas asserted, “I absolutely wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle.”

He also said he was “honored” that Prince Charles stood in for him. “Everybody was watching my daughter and I couldn’t have been more proud. And like I said, how could I ask for a better replacement than Charles. I just wish it could have been my hand holding my daughter’s not his but I think he was wonderful for doing it,” said Thomas.

RELATED: Meghan Markle’s dad says watching her wedding to Prince Harry was ‘emotional and joyful’

Like millions of others, Thomas said he sat down to watch the wedding on television — at a private bed and breakfast a friend had found him.

“The unfortunate thing for me now is I’m a footnote in one of the greatest moments in history rather than the Dad walking her down the aisle,” he admitted. “That upsets me somewhat.”

Thomas added, “It was a very emotional moment for me, like I said, I cried about it. I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle. I wanted that moment. But I’m thankful for everything the way it went. I was very proud. I was very upset that it wasn’t me but the whole world was watching my daughter. I was very happy about that.”

He said his son-in-law Harry, 33, is “great, he’s an interesting guy” and revealed how he asked to marry Meghan. “Harry asked for her hand over the phone and I said: ‘You’re a gentleman, promise me you’ll never raise your hand against my daughter and of course I will grant you my permission.’ ”

And of his daughter marrying into royalty, he added, “My daughter has been a princess since the day she was born.”

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