All eyes will be on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on May 19 as the royal couple gets married at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. This year’s big royal wedding will be a spectacle to behold, with guests traveling from around the world to witness the special moment for the American actress and her royal beau.
While St. George’s Chapel has particular significance for Prince Harry — he was baptized there back in 1984 — it’s also a venue with significant roots for the rest of the royal family.
Here’s everything you need to know about the historic location where Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding will take place.
Where is Windsor Castle?
Windsor Castle is located about 22 miles from central London, in the quaint town of Windsor. Built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, 39 of England’s ensuing monarchs have since called Windsor Castle home, making it the oldest — and, at 13 acres, largest — continually inhabited royal residence in the world. It’s still, in fact, one of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s favorite spots to stay on the weekends and during holidays. (Visitors will know she’s around if the royal flag is flying.) Queen Elizabeth usually spends much of the spring at the residence as well.
Where is St. George’s Chapel?
St. George’s Chapel, an intricate Gothic space, is located on the Windsor Castle grounds. It was first constructed in 1475 during Edward IV’s reign, and then served as the home of the Order of the Garter, according College of St. George website.
Fun fact: the infamous Henry VIII (he of many ill-fated wives) is entombed in St. George’s Chapel, along with his third wife, Jane Seymour. There are a total of ten monarchs buried at the Chapel, and a number of memorials.
Who has been married at St. George’s Chapel?
In terms of weddings, the St. George’s Chapel has a long, suitably royal history; the Chapel’s official website cites 15 royal wedding ceremonies taking place there, dating back to 1863 and the reign of Queen Victoria, when the future King Edward VII and Princess Alexandra of Denmark tied the knot.
More recently, it served as the wedding chapel for Princess Anne‘s son Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn Kelly in 2008. In 2005, a service of “prayer and dedication” was held in the Chapel after Prince Charles — Harry’s father — married Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, in a preceding civil ceremony in the nearby Windsor Guildhall. They also held their reception at Windsor Castle after the service.
Prince Harry and Markle’s wedding won’t be the only royal wedding held at St. George’s Chapel this year. Princess Eugenie and her fiancé, Jack Brooksbank, are set to tie the knot at St. George’s on Oct. 12.
Can you visit Windsor Castle or St. George’s Chapel?
Windsor Castle is an easy journey from central London, about an hour by train or by car from Paddington or Waterloo stations. It’s also close to Heathrow Airport, making it a good stopover on your way into or out of the city, with bus service available between the airport and the castle.
The quaint town of Windsor has plenty to occupy a morning or half-day visit, and the Castle itself is open to visitors daily, though you’ll need to purchase a ticket (adult tickets for Windsor Castle cost $29 each) for the proper experience. But once you pay out, you’ll be able to explore everything from the official state apartments, decorated extensively with paintings by masters like Rubens and Van Dyck and antique furniture, to the ornately gilded Grand Reception Room. (Much of the decoration was chosen to rival Versailles for extravagance.) If you time it right, you might even get to watch a changing of the Guard.
And, finally, St. George’s Chapel is open for visitors to stop through to explore its Gothic detailing — or to experience a service, which are held throughout the day on Sundays and nightly during the week.
When are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry getting married at St. George’s Chapel?
The two will take their vows at 12 p.m. noon on Saturday, May 19 after proceeding through the Windsor grounds by carriage, where a crowd of thousands — some specially invited for the occasion — will get to watch their royal entrance.
The service is set to be conducted by the Right Reverend David Conner, who’s the Dean of Windsor. And the Archbishop of Canterbury gets the honor of officiating as Markle and Harry take their vows.
After they tie the knot in St. George’s Chapel, the couple will get back into a carriage for another procession through Windsor, followed by an evening reception in the Castle Apartments.
As for who’s on the guest list? Rumor has it the Spice Girls could be there.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described Jane Seymour. She was King Henry VIII’s third wife, not his final wife.