As a young man, Prince Harry was the rebellious playboy who often caused scandals for the royal family, despite his honorable service in the Royal Armed Services. But the United Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor eventually found love with Suits actress Meghan Markle. It’s the second time in history that a member of the British royal family has chosen to marry an American, but this time the Queen seems to be okay with the couple breaking many traditions. From the dress to what the couple requested for gifts, here’s everything you need to know about the royal wedding. Will Meghan’s dad be there to walk her down the aisle?
A Saturday Royal Wedding Is Not Common
The royal wedding of 2018 will already go against tradition because of the decision to marry on a Saturday. Per tradition, royal weddings typically take place on a weekday, but the date is set for May 19, 2018. The date for Saturday inconveniences best man Prince William, who usually presents the trophy at the FA Cup final at Wembley which is on the same day.
It’s suspected that this date was chosen to accommodate William’s wife, Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her third child on April 23, 2018, and is expected to be well enough to attend the May wedding.
They Requested Charity Donations As Wedding Gifts
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle haven’t made any wedding registries. They’ve forgone traditional wedding gifts in favor of donations to charity, which gives anyone the chance to bestow a wedding gift on the couple.
The charities which people can make donations in Harry and Megan’s honor include CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis, the Myna Mahalia Foundation, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, StreetGames, Surfers against Sewage, and The Wilderness Foundation UK. HIV awareness is one cause especially close to them since it is Prince Harry’s mission to continue the efforts of his late mother, Princess Diana.
The Wedding Invitations Are Simply Elegant
Followers of the royal wedding were abuzz when Kensington Palace made the official announcement that the wedding invitations have been sent out. London-based printer Barnard Westwood made the invitations “using American ink on English card,” and they were “printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edge.”
Guests who were lucky enough to receive the invitation of the year are invited to a lunchtime reception at St. George’s Hall, hosted by Her Majesty The Queen. A select 200 guests were invited to a more intimate reception among family and close friends at Frogmore House, hosted by father-of-the-groom, Prince Charles.
A Smaller Wedding Compared To William And Kate’s
“Around 600” guests will attend the wedding service, which is modest in comparison to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, whose wedding welcomed 1,900 guests. Because Prince Harry is sixth in line for the throne, it’s less critical for him to invite diplomats from all over the world.
Despite the small number of attendees at the officiation, over 2,500 members of the public were invited to celebrate the day of the wedding. Of this number, 1,200 people were selected by regional Lord Lieutenant offices based on their community service, including a deaf student who teaches sign language and a young woman who offers employment training to differently abled people.
The Royal Armed Forces Will Play A Big Role In The Ceremony
The royal wedding will also feature special ceremonial support from the Royal Armed Forces. Over 250 members have been invited to stand at the wedding. The military presence is close to Prince Harry, who served in the Royal Army for ten years.
Over the course of his service, he was promoted to Captain and served two tours in Afghanistan. Harry created the annual Invictus Games, an Olympic-style event for injured military members and veterans.
Meghan Markle Will Become Royalty In A Castle
While Prince William and Kate Middleton married at Westminster Abbey like many royals who came before them, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are going a different route by choosing St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle as their wedding venue.
The soon-to-be newlyweds aren’t the only ones who’ve chosen this venue in the past. Harry’s father, Prince Charles, married Camilla Parker Bowles at Windsor Castle in 2005. A spokesman for the couple said, “Windsor is a very special place for Prince Harry, and he and Ms. Markle have regularly spent time there during the last year.”
Meghan’s Wedding Dress Is The Biggest Mystery Of Them All
One of the biggest question marks amid the royal wedding preparations is Meghan’s wedding dress. The designer she chose will most likely not be disclosed until Meghan reveals the dress itself on her wedding day, but people have been speculating in the meantime.
Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl believes it would be a “clever choice” if Markle had chosen Stewart Parvin, who has been dressing the queen for over ten years. Markle once told Glamour, “Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.”
Meghan Markle Probably Won’t Have A Bridal Party
People have wondered if Meghan Markle will have a bridal party consisting of her group of friends, which include the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams. However, Chopra exclusively told People that while she will be at the wedding, she is “not a bridesmaid.”
With that bit of information, it seems that Markle will forego some traditions of a typical American bride, opting instead for the royal protocol on this one. Still, the question of her maid of honor is up for debate. People are guessing that it will either be her mom, Doria Ragland, or her longtime BFF, Jessica Mulroney.
Meghan Markle’s Dad Won’t Be Walking Her Down The Aisle
Along with her wedding dress, one of the biggest questions surrounding the royal couple’s upcoming nuptials is who will walk Meghan down the aisle. While Meghan’s father, Thomas, had been due to walk with his daughter, he has recently given contradictory statements about his attendance to the media.
On May 17, Meghan confirmed that her father will not walk her down the aisle and will not be attending the wedding as he recently underwent heart surgery. “Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” she said in the statement released by Kensington Palace. “I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.”
Meghan Will Be Escorted To The Altar By Prince Charles After A Solo Entrance
On May 18, it was announced that not only would Meghan’s father not be walking her down the aisle at her wedding, but that she would begin her procession with only her bridesmaids and pageboys. She will be otherwise unchaperoned for much of her walk to the altar which is a first in the history of British royal weddings.
When she reaches the Quire (where members of the royal family are seated), she will be joined by Prince Charles. He’ll then accompany her to the altar. Many are hailing Meghan’s untraditional bridal entrance as a feminist statement. It was also confirmed this day that Prince Philip, 96, will be present at the wedding.
The Wedding Cake Will Taste Like Spring
The royal wedding cake will be just as fresh as the spring season in which the wedding will take place. Kensington Palace announced via Twitter the royal couple’s request for a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream frosting, decorated with fresh flowers. The cake will be made by American pastry chef Claire Ptak, who owns Violet Bakery in London.
Ptak and Markle actually have a history. In 2010, the actress interviewed Ptak for her lifestyle website The Tig and praised her for “using seasonal and organic ingredients in her cakes.”
The Flower Arrangements Will Support The Local Bee Population
Even the flower arrangements for the royal wedding are consciously created. The foliage will be native to The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park, especially the ones that bloom naturally in May, so perhaps we will see beech and birch branches, along with white garden roses, peonies, and foxgloves.
Floral designer Philippa Cook was commissioned to create the arrangements for the big day. Cook frequently works with Kensington Palace and big names in British fashion. Not only will she design the flowers to mimic the plants’ natural landscapes, but the arrangements will also include “pollinator-friendly plants” which is beneficial to the at-risk bee population.
Where Do Royals Throw Bachelor Parties?
Prince William was officially announced as best man, and British citizens began speculating as to what he could be planning for Harry’s bachelor party. Bets were placed that Switzerland will be the top choice for Harry’s last nights as a bachelor. Other possibilities include Chelsea, Edinburgh, and Prague.
One place that is for sure out of the question is Las Vegas. Back in 2012, Prince Harry caused a scandal for the royal family after he was pictured buck naked while partying in Sin City. It appears that Prince Harry has since shed his rebellious ways.
This Young Musician Got A Personal Request From Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle personally asked 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason if he would perform at the wedding ceremony. Mason is a student at London’s Royal Academy of Music and won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award in 2016. “I was bowled over when Ms. Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes,” the young cellist told People.
Wedding guests are also slated to hear performances by the church choir at St. George’s Chapel and by an orchestra consisting of musicians from BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
They’re Returning To Africa For Their Honeymoon
So where do newlywed royals go on their honeymoon? For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the destination is Africa. In April 2018, sources confirmed to Travel + Leisure that Harry and Meghan have settled on visiting Namibia.
South Africa holds a very special place in the couple’s hearts. Not only did they first get to know each other in Botswana back in 2016, but in 2017 Prince Harry treated Meghan to a three-week vacation on the exotic continent for her birthday. Harry was once reported as saying that Africa is one place “where I feel more like myself than anywhere in the world.”
She Is Welcome To Borrow Princess Diana’s Headpiece
What will Meghan Markle use as her “something borrowed”? The Spencer family has already made it known that the actress is welcome to wear the headpiece Princess Diana wore at her wedding to the Prince of Wales.
Princess Diana’s headpiece consists of heirloom diamonds from her ancestors, repurposed into a tiara. Because it is from the Spencer family, Diana’s headpiece is not apart of the Crown Jewel Collection, which Markle has access to as well. Should she choose to wear a tiara on the big day, it will be understated, but classy. Or she can continue to go against tradition and opt to forgo a tiara.
It’s Only Right That Prince William Is The Best Man
In January 2018, Prince William was asked if he was going to be his brother’s best man. William replied that he wasn’t asked. By late April, however, Kensington Palace made the formal announcement that William had accepted the role of best man.
The eldest brother told radio host Roman Kemp, “Our relationship is closer than it’s been because of the situation we’ve been through. Losing our mother at a young age, it’s helped us travel through that difficult patch together. You’re like-minded. You go through similar things – it’s a bond, and it’s something you know you’ve tackled together and come out better for it.”
Meghan Markle Will Be A British Citizen After This
The first time a member of the British royal family married an American, it didn’t go over well. In 1937, King Edward III married American socialite Wallis Simpson, who by then was twice divorced. The relationship caused a “constitutional crisis,” and Edward was forced to abdicate the throne upon their marriage.
Times have changed, and because Harry isn’t next in line for the throne, there is less pressure surrounding the royal wedding of 2018. Markle is already in the process of applying to become a citizen of the United Kingdom, but the jury’s still out on whether she will have dual citizenship. Markle is also giving up acting to take on her royal duties.
Harry Proposed In The Middle Of Making Dinner
Harry and Meghan were making dinner when the younger prince suddenly popped the question. The couple told CNN that they were “trying to roast a chicken” when Prince Harry got down on one knee. Markle recalled, “It was so sweet and natural and very romantic… As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, ‘Can I say yes now?'”
Harry added that Meghan was so excited, he had to ask her if he could finally give her the ring. “It was a really nice moment. It was just the two of us, and I think I managed to catch her by surprise as well,” he said.
Princess Diana’s Diamonds Are On Meghan’s Engagement Ring
Prince Harry personally designed Markle’s engagement ring, which consists of three precious gems bound together on a yellow gold band. The primary stone is sourced from Botswana, as a nod to their first trip in Africa. The two diamonds surrounding it pay homage to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, and are from her personal collection.
Harry told CNN using his mother’s diamonds was “to make sure she’s with us on this crazy journey together.” Markle added, “I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness and the inclusion of that and obviously not being able to meet his mom it’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us.”
Surprisingly, They Hardly Knew Of Each Other Before Meeting
The actress and the prince were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, whose identity they prefer to keep private. According to CNN, “Markle wasn’t too familiar with the British royal family, and Prince Harry had never seen the television show, Suits, nor any other example of Markle’s work.”
However, their first date was so engaging they decided to have another the very next day. Within weeks, Harry had convinced Markle to accompany him to Botswana. He said, “Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me, to make sure that we had a chance to get to know each other.”
People Were Not Pleased With This Pairing At First
Their relationship came as a shock to many, who were surprised to see Harry tied down. The red-haired prince was considered a black sheep who caused scandal for the royal family in the past. Although it was a sign he’d grown up, news of his newfound love was still controversial.
Traditionally, royals are restricted from dating Catholics or divorcées — Megan Markle is both. In 2016, Harry’s spokesperson had to issue a warning to the press: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her… This is not a game – it is her life and his.”