The one-week countdown until the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is officially on! It’s hard to believe we’re finally here after a whirlwind engagement and nearly a year of feverish speculation as to whether or not This. Was. It. It was and so here we are!
I’ve declined to post every time Kensington Palace offered an update on flowers, music and logistics, but it seems fitting to do a quick rundown on everything we know – from family and guests, to the dress and the cake, so let’s get into it.
When is the wedding?
Saturday, May 19 at 12 am GMT. The ceremony will last roughly one hour and will be televised.
Where is the wedding?
The ceremony, which will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, will be held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate when the couple make their vows.
Will the public get to see the couple?
Yes! In addition to the televised ceremony, Harry and Meghan will take a 25-minute carriage ride through the town of Windsor. It won’t quite be the formal presentation on Buckingham Palace’s balcony that many may recall from other royal weddings, but it will still offer plenty of happy, candid moments for those who are gathering at Windsor or watching at home.
Prior to the ceremony itself, we will see Meghan traveling to and arriving at the chapel, though we don’t know from where. KP is only referring to where she’ll spend the night before as her “overnight location” at this point.
What comes next?
A private reception will be held in St George’s Hall inside Windsor Castle. All guests who attend the ceremony will attend this reception, and the public will be able to see the guests outside the Chapel as they watch the beginning of the carriage ride.
An even smaller reception after that, hosted by the Prince of Wales, will be held at Frogmore House on the Castle grounds, however only some guests have been invited for this portion of the evening. This is the same location at which Harry and Meghan’s engagements photos were taken.
Our last glimpse of the couple will be when they walk from the Castle to Frogmore House, thus if Meghan opts to wear a second gown, we’ll get to see it (albeit briefly) then.
Who is attending?
There have been 1,200 people invited to celebrate the wedding on the grounds of Windsor Castle. That does not, however, mean they will be in the Chapel for the ceremony or at either reception. These people span every region of the UK and include representatives from charity organizations with which they have worked and members of the public they have encountered during their engagement tour.
There are the obvious family members, of course – the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and, presumably, the Wessex’s children. Then there will be the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. We can safely assume that the Princess Royal’s children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, and their families will be there too, as well as Eugenie’s fiance, Jack Brooksbank.
Also expected is the Duchess of Cambridge, marking her first appearance since giving birth to Prince Louis.
The Duke of Edinburgh should be there, however there is a slight question mark on that since he is still convalescing from hip surgery. He’s been seen out since and we have every reason to expect he will be there, but you never know.
Finally, Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, has been invited to the ceremony. She hasn’t been invited to the smaller reception and is apparently displeased about it, but given that she wasn’t invited to the Cambridges’ wedding at all, I think she’ll make do.
There have been some other confirmations from high-profile friends, including Victoria Beckham, Priyanka Chopra and Jessica Mulroney (who has been flying to London from Toronto to help Meghan with wedding prep).
Who definitely isn’t attending?
This wedding is due to be smaller than William and Kate’s, and it is certainly not a state occasion. We won’t see politicians, British or otherwise.
Also not in attendance are most members of Meghan’s family, many of whom have embarrassed themselves in the press since the couple’s engagement was announced. With the exception of Meghan’s parents, it’s unclear whether anyone else has made the cut…well, it’s unclear because they’re not talking to the press, hence why they scored an invite. So, there you go.
Oh, and Louis is a firm no-show for obvious reasons.
So what about Meghan’s parents?
Meghan is reportedly extremely close to her mother. Doria Ragland was pictured with the couple last October in Toronto at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games, and Harry noted during their engagement interview that she’s been wonderful. She is expected to arrive right about now in London and spend the week ahead of the wedding with her daughter.
On the day of the wedding she will ride with Meghan to Windsor Castle, marking a distinct departure from tradition. As you may recall from the 2011 wedding, it was Michael Middleton who escorted Kate to Westminster Abbey. I actually find this lovely and it’s in keeping with a very American trend to feature both parents.
Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, will walk her down the aisle on the day of. Like Doria, Thomas will also be in London this coming week. Unlike his ex-wife, Thomas hasn’t met Harry before, so this will give him an opportunity to do so.
Kensington Palace made a point of noting that both parents will spend time with the Queen, Philip, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate ahead of the big day, continuing to highlight these marriages as a modern merging of two families.
Who will be in the bridal party?
So far, there have been two announcements on that front – William will serve as Harry’s Best Man and Meghan has opted not to select a maid of honor, the reasoning being that she didn’t want to pick one of her friends over the others. It would also be an enormous amount of scrutiny, as evidenced by Pippa Middleton’s role at her sister’s wedding.
It is widely assumed that Prince George and Princess Charlotte will serve as a page boy and bridesmaid, respectively. There is also speculation that Zara’s daughter, Mia Tindall, will be included. Beyond that, we don’t know, but KP has stated they will issue that news this coming week.
What about Diana’s family?
Harry is reportedly closer to the Spencer side of his family than William is and that will be on display next week. All three of Diana, Princess of Wales’s siblings will be in attendance, alongside their spouses and children, however Lady Jane Fellowes has been singled out to give a reading. Harry is said to be particularly close to her and her family.
When will we get to see formal photos?
Alex Lubomirski, the same photographer who shot the engagement photos, will shoot the formal wedding pictures. These are due to be released to the public at some point the following week.
Where and when are the couple taking their honeymoon?
The answer to the first is that we don’t know, though this information has a way of making its way to the public eventually. Most people are assuming that it will be somewhere in Africa given the importance of Botswana to the couple’s relationship, however there’s been a strong case made for Namibia.
As for when, it won’t be for a while apparently. Immediately after the wedding, the couple plans to stay in London and spend time with the friends and family who traveled to attend. They will also apparently carry out their first public engagement as a married couple within days of the wedding.
SO, WHAT ABOUT THE DRESS?
We don’t know! And we won’t for sure until the big day. There was a minor hiccup last week when it seemed to be confirmed that Ralph & Russo was designing the gown, particularly after Harry was photographed leaving their studio. But it was just that – a hiccup. Harry’s gym is nearby and that’s where he was in fact leaving.
R&R is still a strong contender, especially since they designed the gown Meghan wore in her engagement photos. Another possibility bandied about is Erdem, a favorite of Meghan’s (and Kate’s). I’ve also heard Burberry, Alexander McQueen and just about every other high-end British label under the sun.
Will Meghan wear a tiara?
Probably. There’s a chance she’ll opt not to arrive in one or wear another kind of headpiece, like flowers, and then have one added once officially married, but chances are, yes. It will be borrowed, most likely, from the Queen, though I’ve heard rumors running the gamut of the Spencer tiara being used or a new one being commissioned. Highly unlikely rumors, I should add.
What kind of carriage will the couple ride in?
A horse-drawn Ascot Landau. The carriage will be escorted by a travelling Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
What kind of flowers will be featured?
KP announced that the couple has selected Philippa Craddock as their florist. The arrangements will reportedly include white garden roses, foxgloves and peonies, and further details will be shared in the next few days.
What kind of cake will be served?
KP announced that Violet Cakes, a London bakery, has been commissioned to bake the wedding cake. British weddings traditionally feature a fruitcake, however Meghan opted for a lemon elderflower spongecake.
What about the music?
The music will be under the direction of James Vivian, Director of Music, St George’s Chapel, including the Choir of St George’s Chapel, and a selection of choral groups, soloists and musicians. This will include Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir and 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Harry met Sheku last year at a charity event where he heard him play.
So, who is paying for all of this?
The Royal Family is paying for the wedding and related expenses privately.
Will Harry be given a new title?
It’s a very safe bet that Harry will be granted a dukedom on the morning of his wedding day, just like William was. We don’t know what the title will be, however the favorite is “Duke of Sussex” which has been rumored for years. Other candidates include Clarence, Connaught, Cumberland and Teviotdale. It’s also not completely out of the realm of possibility that Harry will be awarded an earldom for the time being, but I would bet less money on that.
It had briefly crossed my mind that the dukedom of York will eventually revert back since Andrew doesn’t have any sons, however I think given the birth of Louis, there are good odds that particular title – one which is historically associated with a monarch’s second son – ends up with William’s younger son.
Who else has been married at St George’s?
In recent history, there have been a few. In 2008, Harry’s cousin, Peter Phillips, married Autumn Kelly. In fact, just two days before the wedding, Peter and Autumn will celebrate their 10-year anniversary. In 2005, it was Charles and Camilla, and in 1999 it was Edward and Sophie.
There were a few other notable weddings there in the last century, including that of the Duke of Kent’s daughter, Lady Helen Windsor (now Lady Helen Taylor). And Margaret of Connaught, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married the future Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden there in 1905.
Before that and it was used by a number of Queen Victoria’s children, including the future Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1863, Princess Helena and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein in 1866, Princess Louise and the Marquess of Lorne in 1871, the Duke of Connaught and Princess Louise of Prussia (Margaret of Connaught’s parents) in 1879 and the Duke of Albany and Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont in 1882.
There are more and you can see all of them in this handy little video that the BRF released. Or this infographic:
Ok, that’s all I’ve got! If I missed anything, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it in or track down an answer for you!