Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting married this year – with the eyes of the world on them as they tie the knot.
Seven years after Harry was best man for brother William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, thereâs no doubt it will be the wedding of the year.
When Harry and Meghan announced their engagement to a flurry of excitement in November, they set a rough date for their royal wedding – just days after Harry had popped the question over roast chicken.
But thereâs a lot the lovebirds need to sort out.
Who will be on the guest list? What dress will Meghan wear? Where will Harry go on his stag do? And will any of the bridesmaids steal the limelight like cheeky Pippa?
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Harry and Meghan will ride in an Ascot Landau carriage for their procession through Windsor. The carriage will be pulled by Windsor Grey horses Storm and Tyrone.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding day will be Saturday May 19, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
The couple had initially promised a Spring wedding when they announced their engagement, narrowing it down to May the following day – and some hoped it might be on the Bank Holiday weekend of May 26 to give a three day weekend.
The date was officially confirmed as May 19 in December by Kensington Palace, with a statement released on Twitter.
And in February it was confirmed that the service will begin at midday.
On 15 March, the Queen gave her formal consent for her “Most Dearly Beloved Grandson” to marry Meghan – or Rachel Meghan Markle to be precise.
Football fans have joked that Harry chose the time so that the ceremony wouldn’t clash with the FA Cup Final, which is being held on the same day.
The first question on many people’s mind when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement was announced was obvious: do we get a day off work and school?
in London’s Westminster Abbey on Friday April 29, 2011, the British public was given a bonus bank holiday.
There won’t be one this time around, though, as Harry is lower down the line of succession.
But the Saturday ceremony means much of the country will be able to have the day off to watch it if they want to – and pubs will be permitted to apply for longer opening hours.
A church wedding beckons, despite Meghan being a divorcee. The day after the engagement news was released, it was announced the wedding would take place at St Georgeâs Chapel at Windsor Castle. Prince Charles and Camilla had their blessing there in 2005 and it was where Harry was christened.
Meghan was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England ahead of her wedding day, with a small ceremony at the Chapel Royal in St Jamesâs Palace in early March. The Archbishop of Canterbury described it as “very special”.
Harry’s communication’s secretary Jason Knauf said Windsor was a “very special place” for Harry, and that he and Ms Markle had spent time there together during their 16-month romance.
He said the couple were delighted to be holding the wedding in the “beautiful grounds of Windsor”.
The couple were âextremely gratefulâ for the happy response to their announcement, adding they were also grateful to The Queen for granting use of the chapel.
Members of the Household Cavalry will line the steps.
The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Reverend David Conner, will conduct the service, while The Most Reverend and Rt Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows.
After their engagement announcement, the Most Rev Justin Welby said the couple had âchosen to make their vows before Godâ.
He also declared himself âabsolutely delightedâ to hear their news, wishing them âmany years of love, happiness and fulfilmentâ.
The couple are said to have been doing wedding preparation with him ahead of their marriage, and he officiated at Meghan’s baptism and confirmation. Rev Welby said of the ceremony welcoming Meghan into the Church of England: “It was beautiful and sincere. And very moving. It was a great privilege.”
After the vows, a carriage procession will begin at 1pm, but it will just be the newly-weds.
Prince Harry and Meghan will travel in an Ascot Landau – or the Scottish State Coach if it rains. The carriage will be pulled by father and son Windsor Greys Storm and Tyrone.
The route will take them from Windsor Castle via Castle Hill and process along the High Street and through Windsor Town, before returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk.
A spokesman said: âThey hope this short journey will provide an opportunity for more people to come together around Windsor and to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day.â
The streets will be lined by members of the Windsor Castle Guard from 1st Battalion Irish Guards, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving, The Royal Marines, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, The Royal Gurkha Rifles and RAF Honington.
After the procession, there will be a reception at St Georgeâs Hall for the couple and guests from the congregation.
Later on, Harry’s father the Prince of Wales will host a private evening event for the couple and around 200 guests at Frogmore House.
Strictly speaking, royals traditionally have a supporter rather than a best man.
But Prince William was officially confirmed as Harry’s “Best Man” in an announcement from Kensington Palace on 26 April – three days after the arrival of William and Kate’s third child.
The brothers are close, and William was always the obvious choice, particularly since Harry had performed the same role at his brother’s wedding in 2011.
His best man duties mean there is absolutely no chance William will be going to the FA Cup final.
Harry’s father Prince Charles chose two “supporters” for his wedding, with his brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte already have one page boy and flower girl gig on their CVs – for their aunt Pippa Middleton on her wedding day last May.
George did have a bit of a moment, in tears after the ceremony and with a telling off from mum Kate, but he and his little sister are surely set to be page boy and flower girl for Meghan too.
There will be another little brother or sister around too, with Kate set to give birth to her third child in April, but at just a few weeks old, they will miss the fun.
Another potential flower girl is the daughter of Meghan’s good friend Jessica Mulroney. Four-year-old Ivy often featured on Meghan’s Instagram before it was closed.
When they announced their engagement, the couple said Harry was yet to meet Meghan’s dad – but he has spoken to him on the phone.
The Mirror spoke to Thomas Markle in Mexico in December. When we asked if he will be at St Georgeâs Chapel in Windsor Castle to give Meghan away, he beamed: âYes. Iâd love to.â
It has been reported that Harry got approval from Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland before proposing, rather than following the old tradition of speaking to his girlfriend’s father. Could she walk her daughter down the aisle? It has been claimed Prince William was put forward as an alternative suggestion by royals not convinced by the idea.
With Meghan’s dad known to be deeply private, it has been suggested he may be unlikely to give a speech at the reception.
Meghan has her own girl squad in Toronto, so there sould be plenty of glamorous friends wanting to her bridesmaids.
One of her best friends is Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, 37, whose father-in-law was former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. They’ve been inseparable since Meghan moved to Canada to film Suits and was regularly seen partying with her on Instagram – until Meghan quit social media for a royal life.
Another close friend is US actress and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, 35, who hit it off with Meghan after they met at a Toronto party two years ago. The Quantico and Baywatch star, who has made more than 50 Bollywood films, shares her passion for charity work and has also made it clear she has Meghanâs back – on a recent appearance on a US talk show she lambasted host Wendy Williams for calling Meghan âPrince Harryâs girlfriendâ, saying âAlso Meghan Markle … you know, an actress in Suits, her own achievements…â.
Also in the running is tennis ace pal Serena Williams, who she first met at a charity flag football game in February 2014.
One person itâs unlikely to be is Meghanâs half-sister, Samanatha Grant. Samantha, who shares the same father, has previously spoken out against Meghan, calling her a âsocial climberâ and suggesting sheâd targeted Harry as she has âa soft spot for gingersâ. Since the engagement she has reached out to say she regrets their earlier fallouts, but has continued to be outspoken. Read her interview in the Mirror. And Samantha’s ex-husband has also weighed in to say she shouldn’t be invited.
Meghan’s wedding band will be made from Welsh gold, following a royal tradition started by the Queen’s mother almost a century ago.
Gold from Welsh mines was first used for royal wedding rings in 1923 when King George VI married Elizabeth Bowes Lyon – the great-grandmother of groom-to-be Prince Harry.
The Queen’s wedding band when she tied the knot with Prince Philip in 1947 was also made with the rare metal, and most recently Harry’s sister-in-law Kate wore Welsh gold with its when she wed Prince William in 2011.
Meghan’s ring will likely be made by jewellers Wartski at their London workshop.
The designer behind Meghan’s wedding dress will have a world spotlight, so the job is sure to be in high demand. And the challenge will be on to create something that stands alongside dresses worn by previous royal brides.
As a stylist, best pal Jessica Mulroney may well have been called in to help Meghan pick out the perfect wedding gown for her big day.
Meghan previously posed in a beautiful gown for Canadaâs Hello magazine, modelling a dress from Jessicaâs Kleinfeld Canada bridal shop. The picture was reposted last year, showing Meghan in a princess-style full skirted gown with the hashtag âPrincess goals.â
That style seems to fit with Meghanâs own passions. When asked about her perfect wedding dress, she once said: âI personally prefer dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.â
Sheâs also previously said sheâll âalways be a fan of Elie Saabâ when asked about her perfect wedding dress, the Lebanese designer known for embroidery and embellishments.
We also have a clue what she might not want.
While she also loved the Anne Barge Versailles dress she wore when her Suits character Rachel Zane was jilted on her wedding day by Mike Ross, Meghan stressed it was a little too formal for her taste, saying: âItâs not my personal style, because Iâm a lot more relaxed than Rachel but I love that I got to play dress up in this gown.â
Harry and Meghan are doing things their way and will be surrounded by family, friends and representatives of issues they care about on their big day – with no politicians to get in the way.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and Harryâs pals Tom Inskip, Thomas van Straubenzee, Arthur Landon and Guy Pelly will, of course, be on the groomâs side of the church, as well as The Duchess of Cambridge, who may or may not have the newest royal baby with her (as she has nannying on tap, we suspect not).
Natalie Pinkham, Ben Fogle and Joss Stone are also likely to be on Harryâs list. Kate’s sister Pippa invited Harry to her wedding last year, so it is likely she and husband James Matthews will be on the guestlist. It has also been reported Harry is inviting two of his ex girlfriends – Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas.
Sir Elton John has cancelled two concerts on the weekend of the royal wedding and appears set to attend.
Every wedding has some invitation diplomacy to negotiate, but it is on another level for the royals. Harry is under no obligation to invite heads of state (apart from his gran) – and chose not to. That means no Donald Trump and no Barack Obama – a more surprising omission as he and wife Michelle are genuine friends of Harry and the Cambridges. It had been reported they may miss out as Harry “would not wish to cause a diplomatic row”.
There is also no Theresa May for the big day.
Meghan is pals with former Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh as well as Sophie Ellis-Bexter and her rock star husband Richard Jones.
The actress is also very close to her Suits co-stars which could mean invites for Patrick J Adams and his wife, Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellasario, and Gabriel Macht and his Bridget Jonesâ actress wife Jacinda Barrett. Sheâs also likely to invite co-stars Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres, best known for hit Firefly, who she previously asked for advice, saying: âSarah and Gina give me such great advice â not just on being a good actor but being a wife and mom some day.â
Around 1,200 guests at the Royal wedding on May 19 will be members of the public from a range of backgrounds and ages, around half of whom will be in the service in St George’s Chapel, while the rest will be within the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The first to be named officially included a 12-year-old caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing, an Invictus Games hopeful and a deaf teenager who is teaching his school sign language at lunchtime.
Young people who have shown strong leadership and served their communities are among those invited – with 18-year-old Daniella Timperley the first to reveal she’s on the guestlist.
There will be 100 guests from two local schools, while around 200 people will be from charities and organisations the couple have a close connection with.
The invitations for the big day were made by London-based Barnard and Westwood – who have had the prestigious job for royal weddings since 1985.
Kensington Palace have revealed that Lottie Small, who recently completed her apprenticeship, printed all of the invitations in a process known as die stamping, on a machine from the 1930s.
The invites have been made using American ink on English card, printed in gold and black
Harry and Meghan have announced that thousands of members of the public will be invited to Windsor Castle on their big day.
A Kensington Palace spokesperson said this morning: “Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too.”
The spokesperson added: “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle have invited 2,640 people into the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the arrivals of the bride and groom, and their wedding guests, at the chapel and to watch the carriage procession as it departs from the castle.”
The 2,640 invitees are set to include:
The Queen loaned Kate the 1936 Cartier halo tiara for her wedding day in 2011, and Meghan could also be loaned jewellery from the royal collection.
The actress always wears her grandmaâs charm bracelet on her left wrist, so sheâs likely to wear an heirloom from her own family as well as royal jewels on the big day.
And her stunning engagement ring, worth an estimated ÂŁ50,000, was designed by Prince Harry and has a centre diamond from Botswana, where they went on holiday for her birthday. Either side is a diamond from his mother Princess Dianaâs personal collection.
Meghan has also been wearing sparkling jewellery from Birks, picking ÂŁ5,250 diamond Snowflake earrings for both the Christmas lunch at Buckingham palace and Christmas Day at Sandringham.
She will certainly leave with a ring on her finger – but Prince Harry probably won’t wear a wedding ring after their marriage.
When it comes to make-up, the star is good friends with British make-up artist Tanya Burr, who regularly posted on Meghanâs now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig.
When asked her beauty secrets, Meghan previously revealed sheâs a fan of contouring made famous by the Kardashians.
She said: âThe power of concealer, with the hours we work, is pretty brutal. The highlight and the contour and just knowing your angles. And of course hydrating is the biggest secret.â
And her bouquet is sure to include myrtle, carried by every royal bride since Prince Albert’s grandmother gave Queen Victoria a myrtle bush which still grows on the Isle of Wight.
Meghan chatted about her hen do on two official engagements. On her visit to Cardiff, she said a hen do in the city would be “a lot of fun”. And on her trip to Edinburgh she told well wishers the bachelorette celebrations were “sorted”.
And it seems they were indeed – with Meghan reported to have spent three days at Cotswolds spa retreat Soho Farmhouse with some of her closest friends.
In the past Meghan has talked about her ideal hen do – or bachelorette party as they’re known in America, saying: âThe thought of running around a city trying to get into clubs and wearing headbands of the phallic persuasion didnât seem very âon brandâ for usâ.
Instead she said a girlsâ getaway in Europe was her perfect destination and raved about pal Lindsay Rothâs hen do in Hydra, Greece.
Meghan said of it: âThere is something cathartic about being able to turn it all off â to sunbathe with no one watching, swim in the briny Mediterranean, eat copious amounts of Greek salads.â
The wedding is fast approaching, and there has still been no word on Prince Harry’s stag do. Does that mean they’ve managed to keep the secret? Or just that it hasn’t happened yet…
It was reported Harry had been planning a water-themed celebration with high-speed boats and water skiing in Exmouth, Devon, for brother William until the details being leaked sparked a last minute change of plan, so could that be the kind of do he’d love to have himself?
It has been claimed his close protection officers were spotted on a recce in posh Swiss skiing resort Verbier, where Prince Andrew has a ÂŁ13million chalet and celebrity-owned La Vache is a favourite bar.
But with his love of privacy, heâs likely to follow William, who had a quiet stag do in Norfolk, and have a bash at a private country house. Hot favourite locations are Cornwall – he has regularly hung out at Rock with his private school pals – or Anglesey where his brother used to live in a cottage with wife Kate.
Bookies are also taking bets on Harry returning to Las Vegas, scene of his naked billiard game in 2012.
It has been claimed the pair could also have a ‘hag’ do – a combined stag and hen do – at a polo event.
Meghan Markle is a proud feminist – and it has been suggested she is not going to let the men do all the talking at the wedding.
The Sunday Times reported Meghan, an accomplished and confident public speaker, is keen to give a speech at the reception. She is said to be planning an “affectionate” tribute for her new husband, some jokes, and thanks to the Queen, her family and friends.
Traditionally wedding speeches were given by the father of the bride, toasting the couple, the groom answering on their behalf and toasting the bridesmaids, and the best man answering on their behalf and toasting the couple. But it is increasingly common for brides and bridesmaids to give their own speeches.
Just like her character Rachel in Suits, Meghan has revealed she has an âobsessionâ with food.
She said she loves âfresh seafood and wonderful wineâ. And she has posted her favourite recipes, including sweet potato and white bean soup and smoked salmon and dill dip.
Meghanâs other speciality is roast chicken, which they were making when Harry proposed.
So will they be making an appearance on the wedding reception menu? She is also reported to love French fries, with claims she wants chips at her wedding – perhaps one for the evening party.
Local reports have already suggested Harry and Meghan could follow William and Kate by having English wine and bubbly from Chapel Down vineyard in Kent at their reception.
Harry and Meghan’ unique cake will be made by pastry chef Claire Ptak, – owner of London hipster hotspot Violet Bakery.
It was announced in March that the centrepiece desert will be a lemon elderflower cake to incorporate the bright flavours of spring.
It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.
Claire said: “Knowing that they really share the same values as I do about food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and most importantly flavour, makes this the most exciting event to be a part of.”
The flowers in St George’s Chapel and at the formal reception which follows will be provided by self-taught florist Philippa Craddock.
Some of the foliage will be gathered from The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park, with beech, birch and hornbeam expected to feature.
The flower arrangements will focus on flowers that are in season in May, and will have a wild feel – with bee-friendly plants from the Royal Parks’ wildflower meadows set to be incorporated.
As for the wedding song, Meghan is a big fan of pop. She lists English singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and French band Christine and The Queens on her playlist of favourites, describing them as âa little euphonious pick-me-upâ.
And Mel B claimed Meghan has inspired a Spice Girls reunion, saying her bandmates Victoria Beckham, Geri Horner, Emma Bunton and Mel C were set to join her at the wedding – and perform. Although all that blabbing seems somewhat odd. Harry did pose shyly with the girlband when he was just a boy. Two Become One for the first dance, anyone…?
Harry and Meghan are also fans of American rock outfit The Killers, with Harry a regular at their concerts, including last summer’s Hyde Park gig.
Sir Elton John has cancelled two concerts on the weekend of the royal wedding. He famously performed at the funeral of Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana and remains a family friend – so could he be adding another royal gig to his CV?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reportedly heading to the exotic country of Namibia for their honeymoon.
It’s no wonder that the African country topped the list; it boasts some seriously spectacular scenery, exotic wildlife and plenty of luxury accommodation from safari lodges to campsites in the desert.
Botswana had initially been tipped as it holds a special place in the coupleâs heart after Harry revealed he invited Meghan there just three weeks after their first meeting.
In their engagement interview he reminisced about the romantic getaway, raving that it was âabsolutely fantasticâ and that they âcamped out with each other under the starsâ.
The royal has also previously spoken of his love for Africa and often visits for charity work – so it was always a strong contender for a honeymoon destination.
Tucked away in the grounds of Kensington Palace, the newly-engaged couple will set up home in the prince’s current apartment, Nottingham Cottage, a two-bedroom property on the 17th century estate.
As when Kate Middleton, got married, one thing is certain: Meghan will be a princess – but not in her own right. She will be HRH Princess Henry of Wales.
It is likely the Queen will bestow a title on the couple when they marry, as she did with William and Kate. It has been suggested Prince Harry could become the Duke of Sussex, making Meghan the Duchess of Sussex.
The situation is slightly further complicated by Meghan using her middle name rather than her first name, Rachel. But just as Duchess Catherine of Cambridge remains Kate Middleton for many of her fans, Meghan’s maiden name is also likely to stick.