Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement to the world in November — and now we’re just days away from their May 19 wedding at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s new baby in late April may have diverted attention briefly, but the royal celebration of the year will still be the upcoming nuptials.
Want to know about the royal wedding bridesmaids? Who’s been invited? What cake flavor will be served? What carriage will they use? What photographer is on lock to document the day — and what musicians will be playing at the party? Or do you just want to know how, exactly, to watch the ceremony? All these latest details about the royal wedding are becoming clearer the closer we get.
This is everything you need to know about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding.
When is the 2018 royal wedding?
Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry’s and Markle’s royal wedding date is set for May 19, 2018. This means it will fall after Kate Middleton’s due date. She and Prince William are expecting their third child in April 2018.
Where will the royal wedding be held?
Prince Harry and Markle will wed in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel, which dates back to the 15th century and has been home to many royal family weddings — including that of Harry’s uncle Prince Edward and his first cousin, Peter Phillips.”Windsor is a very special place for Prince Harry and he and Ms. Markle have regularly spent time there over the last year and a half,” Kensington Palace said in a statement on Tuesday.
In 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married slightly earlier in the year, in April, at Westminster Abbey in London.
What is the royal wedding schedule of events?
The wedding service will begin at 12:00 p.m. GMT at the chapel, conducted by the Dean of Windsor. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate when the Prince and Markle take their vows. By 1:00 p.m., they will then begin an official “Carriage Procession” through Windsor Town to Windsor Castle along a promenade known, appropriately enough, as the “Long Walk.” That’s followed by a reception at St. George’s Hall for the newlyweds and a select few guests from the congregation. Finally, another private reception later in the evening will help them celebrate the occasion.
Who is invited to the royal wedding?
Having formally given her consent for her “most dearly beloved grandson” to marry Markle, the Queen herself will attend the wedding in 2018. Not much else is officially known about the royal wedding guest list so far, but there have been hints: some have speculated that former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama might have received an invitation due to their good relationships with Prince Harry and Prince William, Newsweek reported. Barack and former Vice President Joe Biden went to the Invictus Games with Prince Harry in September. Actress Priyanka Chopra has hinted that she may have made the guest list. And former Spice Girl Mel B let slip that she — along with the other Spice Girls Victoria Beckham, Melanie Chisholm, Emma Bunton and Geri Horner — are due to attend.
In late March, the Palace shared the scoop that some 600 guests would receive invitations. All are invited to the service and daytime lunch at St. George’s Hall hosted by the Queen — but only around 200 will get to attend the party that evening at Frogmore House, hosted by Harry’s dad, the Prince of Wales.
In another March update, the royal palace also announced that the couple will invite 2,640 people to Windsor Castle’s grounds for the celebration. Of that crowd, 1,200 will be guests chosen by Lord Lieutenants from around the U.K. who “have shown strong leadership” and “have served their communities.” About 200 will represent charities and causes that Prince Harry and Markle support. A further 100 local schoolchildren are in the mix, along with 610 community members and 530 members of the Royal Household and the Crown Estate. All will be in prime position to watch the arrival of the bride and groom, and to see the carriage procession following the ceremony.
What do the royal wedding invitations look like?
The invitations were crafted by longtime royal stationer Barnard & Westwood and printed in gold and black American-sourced ink on English card stock, and the fancy emblem embossed on the invites is Prince Charles’s Three-Feathered Badge. The London fine printer and bookbinder chosen for the task is an employee-owned company that holds a Royal Warrant, making it one of the royal family’s preferred service providers. Each invitation was hand-crafted using an old-school machine from the 1930s in a die stamping process, burnished to add shine, and gilded on the outside edges.
Will the royal wedding be televised?
By February, a spokesperson had confirmed that Prince Harry and Markle will be allowing cameras in the chapel for filming, including a pool camera so all media outlets can access footage of the ceremony. “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 Palace has stated. Both Prince William and Middleton’s royal wedding in 2011 and Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s royal wedding in 1981 were televised. Approximately 23 million U.S. viewers watched the 2011 nuptials and 17 million tuned in for Charles and Diana’s royal wedding, according to Deadline.
What’s the plan for the royal wedding cake?
In March, Kensington Palace shared news that Markle had selected her preferred pastry chef and celebratory delicacy of choice. Chef Claire Ptak, an American-born chef who runs the small London bakery Violet Cakes, will get to do the sweet honor. She’ll be whipping up a lemon elderflower cake for the party guests, topped with buttercream and fresh flowers.
On May 18, Kensington Palace tweeted a photo of Ptak baking and decorating the cake, which consists of 200 Amalfi lemons, 500 organic eggs, 20 kgs (about 44 pounds) of butter, 20 kgs flour, 20 kgs sugar and 10 bottles of Sandringham Elderflower Cordial.
In a video, Ptak explained that the cake is made of lemon sponge “with an elderflower syrup drizzle.”
Ptak’s bakery is known for its original and organic creations — and the chef is clearly excited about the assignment, as she posted on social media. “They both share so many of the same values regarding food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and of course, flavour,” she noted of Prince Harry and Markle. The timing is just right: as Ptak shared on Instagram last summer, she took a number of years off from making wedding cakes before deciding to return to her baking roots. “They are so fun to make (albeit stressful) and there is nothing like assembling them in situ and the wonderful reactions you receive from onlookers,” she wrote.
What’s on the dinner menu for the Royal Wedding?
The staff of Windsor Castle’s Royal Kitchens have been busy preparing for the big day, ready to serve up a menu that is spring-centric and “led by the freshest produce available,” according to Kensington Palace. Head chef Mark Flanagan further noted that Markle and Prince Harry have been very involved in making the culinary decisions, attending multiple tastings. Current produce that’s in season includes asparagus and artichokes, so it’s highly possible those greens will pop up on diner’s plates.
The Kitchens have also been churning out a number of spring-y pastries for recent events, including bite-sized créme brûlées, biscuits topped with mango panna cotta, yellow macarons and special chocolate truffles.
“You approach every Royal event with the same care and attention to detail,” pastry chef Selwyn Stoby told the Palace, “but you don’t get many opportunities to do a Royal Wedding in your lifetime, so this is very special.”
Who is photographing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding?
Kensington Palace announced via Twitter that photographer Alexi Lubomirski will be taking the official royal wedding day photographs of the couple at Windsor Castle after their ceremony at St. George’s Chapel. This isn’t the first time that Lubomirski has worked with the pair, having photographed them for their official engagement photos this winter. According to an interview with E! News, this will be the first wedding that Lubomirski has shot, although he’s done plenty of editorial work to get his practice in, routinely shooting for the likes of ELLE and Vogue. Lubomirski also shared that Markle found him in the manner that many other brides find their photographers: through Instagram and recommendations.
What music will be played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding?
According to the Kensington Palace official Twitter, the music will consist of choral groups, soloists, and musicians performing “a number of well-known hymns and choral works.” The musical programming will be overseen by St. George’s Chapel’s director of music, James Vivian and will feature the talents of 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, a Royal Academy of Music student who won the 2016 BBC Young Musician title and Karen Gibson and The Kingdom choir, a gospel group, as well as an orchestra featuring musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia.
Who will be Prince Harry’s Best Man?
In late April, the Palace announced that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, will indeed be serving as Harrys’ Best Man for his May 19 nuptials, accepting Harry’s request. Back in 2011, Harry did the same for William during his wedding to Kate Middleton. This means we can expect to see plenty of William and Harry together on the big day, both decked out in their royal regalia as seen in the previous wedding. Hopefully the elder prince and dad to a newborn will have some time to catch up on sleep before the ceremony; he probably won’t want to get caught napping during the vows.
Who will be Meghan Markle’s Maid of Honor?
In a break with tradition, it was revealed that she will not have a maid of honor. “She has a very close-knit circle of friends and she didn’t want to choose one over another,” a palace spokesman shared in a briefing. “All have been actively involved in helping her prepare for the day and will be there in the days beforehand. She’s very happy to have their support.”
What about Meghan Markle’s bridesmaids and page boys?
Like Kate Middleton before her, Markle’s bridesmaids — and the corresponding page boys — will all be children. Just days before the wedding, Kensington Palace released the official list of her bridal party. As expected, it includes Prince Harry’s nephew and niece Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are already experienced at this; they also filled these roles for their aunt Pippa Middleton’s wedding. (It looks like young sibling, Prince Louis, will likely be staying home. He was born just a few weeks ago in late April, after all.)
Joining George and Charlotte are Prince Harry’s godchildren Florence van Cutsem, Zalie Warren and Jasper Dyer, Markle’s godchildren Remi Litt and Rylan Litt, and the kids of her good friend Jessica Mulroney — Ivy, Brian and John. In total, the bridal party is made up of ten children, six boys and four girls. The youngest of the crew is Zalie, who’s only two. The Mulroney boys, meanwhile, are both seven.
What’s the deal with the carriage procession?
After they are married, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will partake in the traditional carriage procession of newlyweds through the town of Windsor, which will be watched by thousands. For this important moment — the first time they’ll be greeting the public as a married couple — they chose the Ascot Landau carriage, which is the same type as the one that Kate Middleton and Prince William opted for on their 2011 wedding day. It’s an open-air vehicle with a high seat for optimal viewing.
Perhaps more importantly, the six horses that will draw the carriage have also been pre-selected. Meet Plymouth, Londonderry, Milford Haven, Sir Basil, Tyrone and Storm, all Windsor Grey horses who will pull the newlyweds down their path of the Long Walk through Windsor Town and back to Windsor Castle. Windsor Greys have been the go-to carriage horse of the British monarchy since the time of Queen Victoria, according to Kensington Palace.
If it rains, however, there’s a backup optioned: the covered and enclosed Scottish State Coach, which was first built in the 1800s and remodeled in the 1960s. It was used as recently as 2016 by the Queen.
What about Meghan Markle’s parents?
In a May update, Prince Harry’s Press Secretary shared news that Markle’s parents Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle will, indeed, be attending the wedding — and her father will have the honor of walking her down the aisle. Both are arriving in England a week in advance of the big day and will meet the whole royal family, Queen included.
“Both of the bride’s parents will have important roles in the wedding,” the statement explained. “On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle. Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St George’s Chapel. Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion.”
What about Princess Diana’s family?
Harry also has no intention to leave out his mother’s side of the family. Princess Diana’s three siblings will attend, with her sister Lady Jane Fellowes sharing a reading. “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day,” Prince Harry’s press secretary noted in a statement.
Will Meghan Markle become a British citizen before or after the royal wedding?
Markle will be the first American to marry a member of the British royal family since King Edward VIII began his relationship with Wallis Simpson, who was also a divorcée, in the 1930s. Edward went on to abdicate the throne and marry Simpson in France. Markle will become a British citizen, Kensington Palace said in a statement Tuesday, and she will be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England prior to the royal wedding in 2018. It wasn’t until 2015, when the Succession to the Crown Act went into effect, that Prince Harry was allowed to marry someone who is Catholic like Markle.
Will Brits get a bank holiday for the royal wedding?
The 2011 royal wedding between Prince William and Middleton was declared a bank holiday, meaning a paid day off in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Other days of celebration have also been marked by a day off as well. However, since Prince Harry is only fifth in line for the throne, soon to be sixth after the birth of a third child of Prince William and Middleton, it is unlikely the royal wedding in 2018 will also come with a day off. The more low-key affair outside of Westminster Abbey also points to the day being a normal work day.