The clock is ticking and the countdown to the Royal Wedding 2018 has begun. It’s just days until the world’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Harry marries Hollywood star, Meghan Markle.
The prince and soon-to-be Duchess announced their engagement back in November 2017, and since then, there’s been a lot to sort out in preparation for the £32m event.
The couple say they want their big day to be a “shared event” which is “modern, inclusive but still adhering to tradition”. Here’s everything we know so far about the wedding of the year:
Kensington Palace revealed back in December on Twitter that the Royal Wedding 2018 will take place on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 12pm. They’ve actually broken a tradition here – Royal Weddings have traditionally taken place on a weekday. The Queen married on a Thursday, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tied the knot on a Friday.
The Queen has granted Harry and Meghan permission to hold the ceremony in St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. It’s clear to see why the chapel holds a special place in the prince’s heart. Prince Harry himself was christened there and Meghan was baptised there. Henry VIII and Princess Margaret are also buried there, whilst the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had their marriage blessed there.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will marry the prince and Ms Markle and The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd. David Conner will conduct the service. Immediately after the service, at 1pm, Meghan and Harry will leave Windsor Castle on the Ascot Landau carriage, along the High Street and through Windsor Town before returning to St George’s Hall for their reception, which will be given by the Queen.
2,650 members of the public have been invited to watch the couple arrive at Windsor Castle, 1,200 of which are young people who have shown ‘strong leadership and who have served their communities’.
Among them is Rashid Behayat, 38, from Coventry, who is the CEO of Positive Youth Foundation, a charity which supports young people in challenging circumstances. Philip Gillespie, 30, from Ballymena, is also on the list – he lost his leg in an IED incident in Afghanistan and now raises funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Invitations for the actual ceremony have been posted to 600 guests. The Palace announced that the invitations were created by Royal Warrant holders, Barnard & Westwood, who have been making royal invitations since 1985. The invitations were printed in gold and black and burnished to bring out shine, using American ink on English card.
So far, celebrities who have confirmed their attendance include some of the members of the Spice Girls, the Beckhams, Elton John and George and Amal Clooney – and there are sure to be many more. However, the loved-up couple chose not to invite high profile political figures like Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May.
200 of the couple’s closest friends and family have also been invited to an afterparty in the grounds of Windsor Castle at Frogmore House.
Who are the best man, bridesmaids and pageboys?
Kensington Palace confirmed that the Duke of Cambridge, Harry’s brother, Prince William, will be his ‘supporter’ – that’s Royal speak for ‘best man’.
William himself said to a reporter “We’re very excited, delighted for them both. We’re wishing them all the happiness in this very exciting time. Personally, I hope it means he stays out of my fridge and will stop scrounging my food, which he’s done for the last few years!”
Six bridesmaids will accompany Meghan on the big day, including Princess Charlotte, the 3-year-old daughter of William and Kate. Two of Prince Harry’s goddaughters and two of Megan’s goddaughters have also been chosen as bridesmaid.
Prince George, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s oldest child, as well as Harry’s godson and Ivy Mulroney’s (Markle’s best friend) younger brothers, have been asked to be pageboys for the day.
Harry and Meghan have made it very clear throughout the wedding preparations that they don’t plan to conform to the conventions of a typical royal couple.
The royal family recently revealed that soon-to-be newlyweds have opted for ‘bowl dishes’ at their wedding reception rather than a traditional sit-down meal. Guests will also be served two-bite canapés made from seasonal British produce – all of which has been grown on the Queen’s estates!
It’s also rumoured that pastry chef Selwyn Stoby along with a team of talented pastry professionals will create delicious, delicate chocolate truffles and small crémes brûlées and biscuits with mango panna cotta topping. The wedding cake will be an organic lemon and elderflower cake created by californian Claire Ptak. Sounds delicious!
The dress code
It has been revealed that guests were sent a dress code with their invitation, which stated they should wear ‘dress uniform’. This would consist of a morning coat or lounge suit for men – shirts, suits and ties and possibly top hats and waistcoats – and a day dress and hat for women, most likely knee-length dresses and hats which are similar to those at Royal Ascot.
However, the details of Meghan’s dress have remained a huge secret; you’ll just have to wait eagerly until Saturday!
The details of the honeymoon have not yet been announced. However, Kensington Palace have stated that it will not be immediately after the wedding.
Where to watch the wedding
If you’ve got this far into the blog, you’ll likely be wondering where you can catch all the action come Saturday. And since we’ve not been sent an invite, the best we can do is watch it live from home.
Unsurprisingly, there will be hours and hours of television coverage, live from the grounds of Windsor castle. In the UK, the BBC, Sky News and ITV will cover the day with big-name presenters. Outside the UK, BBC America, BBC Canada and BBC World News will be broadcasting coverage.
Can’t get enough of all things Royal? Check out our incredible selection Royal Experiences where you’ll be able to visit Harry and Meghan’s wedding location for yourself, take a tour of the grand Buckingham Palace or experience a luxurious, classically British afternoon tea.