11 burning questions about the Prince Harry, Meghan Markle royal wedding
The royal wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle is five months away and already we’re panting with questions about the details.
Alas, we’re not likely to learn the answers for many more weeks; maybe not until the day of the nuptials, May 19, in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest (nearly 1,000 years old) inhabited castle in the world.
But we can speculate, and who’s to object?
As everyone knows, planning a wedding is a major endeavor for ordinary mortals; imagine the hassle if you’re royal. Harry, 33, will soon be only sixth in line to the throne but the wedding will still be a semi-state event and a very public affair likely to involve hundreds of “official” guests beyond the principals’ close relatives and friends. And it’s a binational wedding: the principal members of Markle’s family live on the West Coast.
So here are some questions we’re all curious about, and some possible answers based on the 2011 royal wedding of Prince William to the former Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and the royal-relation wedding of Kate’s sister, Pippa Middleton, to James Matthews last May.
How big will it be?
Not as big as either his brother’s wedding in Westminster Abbey, nor his parents’ wedding in St. Paul’s Cathedral, both of which had thousands of guests. It will be more in line with the 2005 wedding of his father, Prince Charles, and second wife Camilla Parker Bowles, also at Windsor Castle.
St. George’s is a “chapel” in name only; it seats 800, about half the 1,900 guests at Will and Kate’s wedding. That’s also the number of guests at Charles and Camilla’s 2005 prayer ceremony in the chapel, which was followed by a reception in the State Apartment of Windsor Castle hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Compared with the Will/Kate state event, the Harry/Meghan nuptials are going to be more low-key. London (28 miles away) will not be festooned with zillions of Union Jacks and miles of bunting. The wedding day won’t be a national holiday. Millions will not gather on The Mall to watch the parade of gilded coaches surrounded by scarlet-clad soldiers on prancing horses. Hordes will not surround the Queen Victoria statue in front of Buckingham Palace to await the couple’s appearance on the balcony amid cries of “Kiss her!”
Instead, much smaller numbers of onlookers will pack the narrow streets of the town of Windsor outside the castle gates, and the Lower Ward within the gates and near the chapel. Most people will likely see what’s happening via giant screens. There may also be tickets to the grounds distributed to the public, as was the case when Harry’s uncle, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones there in 1999.
Ordinarily open most days to tourists, the castle will be closed on the day of the wedding. There will be cameras in the chapel (as there were for Charles’ and Camilla’s wedding) but as a TV production, this will be much less overwhelming, as is Harry’s and Meghan’s preference.
But Kensington Palace said when the engagement was announced the couple want the public to feel part of the celebration and are working on ideas to make that possible.
Who will officiate?
It will be a Church of England ceremony (the royal family is Anglican, the monarch is the symbolic head of the church), so Markle, 36, will be baptized into the church before the wedding. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is the senior prelate of the church and might be expected to officiate but Harry and Meghan may choose someone else.
Who will design Meghan’s gown?
As a style leader, Markle is still largely an unknown, though she’s been spotted over the last seven years of her Suits acting career in attractive red-carpet frocks.
Since her relationship with Harry became public 13 months ago, her style has ricocheted from torn-knee jeans and loafers to a gobsmacking gorgeous gown (with a price tag of about $73,000 to match) by Ralph & Russo (the Australian duo based in London) for their engagement photos. It featured a see-through black mesh bodice with embroidered gold feathers and a feathery silk organza skirt.
Markle’s few appearances on Harry’s arm at public engagements (they’re scheduled on Jan. 9 to visit London’s multi-ethnic Brixton district, where residents and police clashed in the 1980s and 1990s) have been studied by fashionistas to discern her style: She wore a cream-colored coat by Line the Label for the engagement announcement and a caramel-colored coat by Sentaler for the Christmas Day service at Sandringham.
But Markle talked with Glamour in March 2016 about wedding gowns when her character on Suits, Rachel Zane, got married. Rachel’s style is more “classic and timeless” than her own, she said.
“My personal style — wedding or not — is very pared down and relaxed,” she said.
“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. Delphine Manivet and Christos Costarellos are faves of mine for their uniqueness and beauty. And I will always be a fan of Ellie Saab. J. Mendel is spectacular as well, especially for more structural designs.”
We’ve already seen her engagement ring, designed by Harry using two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection and a larger, center diamond from Botswana, a country close to Harry’s heart. The couple traveled there earlier this year.
What will their titles be?
She won’t be Princess Meghan, just as Kate is not officially Princess Kate. Like Kate, Meghan will become a royal duchess, as in HRH Meghan, Duchess of … . Typically, the queen grants a royal dukedom to a royal bridegroom on his wedding day and the long-vacant title of Duke of Sussex (last used in the early 1800s by a son of the king who lost America, George III) is the clear frontrunner as a likely title for Harry, according to British royals experts. He would become HRH Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; she would become HRH Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.