The Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan – Set to be a Remarkable Day
On the 19th May, there will be a royal wedding taking place between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – former American actress on the TV series Suits. It will be a special occasion for many reasons.
Number one, every royal wedding is avidly watched by most of the British public, fans, and well-wishers worldwide. William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 drew an estimated 23 million viewers and Charles and Diana’s in 1981 was likewise popular.
Number two, they are the golden couple of the hour – although the wedding is not quite as significant as his elder brother William’s in that that William is in direct line to the throne after Charles, and Harry is fifth. But Meghan Markle is breaking many barriers by her marriage – e.g. the psychological walls of the way royalty is seen by the public and how it can modernize itself.
Firstly, Meghan will overtake Kate Middleton as the oldest bride to marry into the ‘family’ at age 36. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, she is bi-racial which shows how previous prejudices of earlier generations no longer affect royal thinking. She has been warmly welcomed by both the Queen and Prince Philip, who according to royal tradition must legitimize the wedding by their consent before it is permitted to take place.
Some other characteristics of Meghan really make her the remarkable Markle and have caused others to draw comparisons with the late Princess Diana, Harry’s mother. She is a fierce exponent of women’s rights, and first hit the headlines in America aged 11 when she highlighted in a letter to the chief of a major advertising company that its TV ad for washing up gloves was sexist and misled girls into thinking they had to grow up to fit into one female stereotype – the stay-at-home mum. In true firebrand style, her determination led to the re-scripting of the ad and to her own beginnings in the limelight. So, much like Diana, she has fought for feminist rights.
When she and Harry wed, they will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, so being an American she will need to gain British citizenship – this lengthy process was begun, when they became engaged a year ago.
Their actual courtship began when they were mutually introduced by a friend, and then after only two dates, they holidayed together in the Prince’s “second home”- Botswana. This was the place Prince Charles took his two young sons during their grieving period after the death of their mother, and it had great healing benefits for them to be in its wilderness.
The jewel in the Crown
So, after the romantic nights spent alone in the wild under the stars, their relationship was sealed. Moreover, Botswana is not only the place of the recent largest rough diamond ever discovered, but also where Harry chose the stone for Meghan’s engagement ring. It contains two stones from his mother’s collection and one larger diamond from the African country. Back home he proposed to her as they were jointly cooking a roast chicken dinner and she said ‘yes’ immediately. Whoever said the way to a man’s heart wasn’t through his stomach!?
Many royal observers speculate that Botswana will also likely be the couple’s honeymoon destination.
It is clear to anyone on the outside how much this couple is in love, there is great chemistry between them. They are well-suited characters as they are both fun-loving and outgoing. Meghan, it is true, has been married before and is divorced, and this in the past may have been a sticking point for entrance onto the royal team. However, some precedent cases have paved the way – such as Prince Edward VIII who abdicated the throne to be allowed to marry another American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Then Charles and Camilla got married, both having been married before.
So, what will the big day be like?
To kick things off, it will take place on the FA cup final day, 19th May 2018 – a Saturday and not an official bank holiday, unlike most previous royal weddings. Football is nationally important and though Prince William who is President of the Football Association must skip it, football fans are in a better situation. The wedding begins promptly at noon so it will be over by the 5.30 pm kick off time.
It is happening at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where Harry was christened and the venue where Prince Edward wed Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, in June 1999.
Dressing up in Style
There has been much speculation over the wedding dress, swinging from Israeli designer Inbal Dror who submitted modern, elegant designs to the bookies’ favourite British designer Stewart Parvin. It is unlikely though that she matches Diana’s bridal gown of 1981 that had a train trailing 7.62m behind her! Incidentally, white wedding dresses were first introduced into modern fashion after Queen Victoria wore one when she wed Albert in 1840.
Order of events
The Royal family are paying for the necessary parts of the itinerary – church service, associated music, flowers, decorations and reception, all happening on Windsor Castle grounds, although ultimate control is in the couple’s hands. Their wish is to involve the public as much as possible. Therefore, they will be travelling by carriage through Windsor to their reception at St George’s Hall. On-route, members of the public, television cameras and photographers will be able to see the couple up close in their fine wedding attire.
It has been revealed that Meghan will give a speech at the reception, breaking with the tradition of having the bride’s father speak, but it is also likely that the best man will either be William or a childhood friend of Harry’s.
Some of the music at the reception is likely to be the Spice Girls for one after an over-enthusiastic Mel B let slip the news on American television.
Also, to play a major role are the British Army of which Prince Harry was a captain and has taken over Prince Philip as Commander of the Royal Marines.
A royal wedding can’t take place without its number one ingredient namely the food! From times past, tradition has dictated that all menus must be written in French. So, any guest not wishing to confuse their foie gras with their canard á l’orange should take note.
Also, the cake is likely to be a thing of beauty if it follows suit to past royal nuptials. Victoria and Albert were the first to place bride and groom figurines on the top. Theirs had two-tiers, was 2.7m wide and weighed 136 kg. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s cake had four tiers and was 2.7m tall. Kate and William’s two cakes cost 60,000 pounds. Harry and Meghan’s cake will be designed by London baker Claire Ptak and have a lemon and elderflower flavour to represent spring’s freshness.
Guess the Guest
The invitations have already been sent out to 600 lucky people. They have American ink printed on English card. In fact, Meghan herself could have designed them because she once had a job as a calligrapher writing wedding invitations in her early days as an actress.
Wowing and Vowing
Lastly, an important reminder of the modernized monarchy is that brides need not promise to ‘love, honour and obey’ their husbands since Diana famously set the precedent when she replaced the word ‘obey’ with ‘comfort’ in her vows. Church tradition no longer forces this point, but in 1981 it was quite a thing and ever since many brides have followed her lead, Meghan is likely to as well.
So, whatever you are up to on the 19th May, make sure you catch a glimpse of the royal wedding – it may be the last for a long time to come.