From the date to the dress, here’s everything you need to know about the most publicized date in the 2018 calendar: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
When was the royal wedding 2018?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married on May 19, 2018. The couple’s decision to wed on a Saturday went against tradition, as royal weddings usually take place on a weekday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed on a Friday and the Queen on a Thursday.
On the morning of the wedding it was announced that the Queen has conferred a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Prince Harry is thus His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Markle has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.
The chosen date fell on the same day as the FA Cup final at Wembley, a match that Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke of Cambridge, usually attends as president of the Football Association to present the trophy. The May date may also have been selected in order to give the Duchess of Cambridge time to recover after the birth of her third child, Prince Louis.
The invitations follow many years of royal tradition and were made by Barnard Westwood. Using American ink on English card, each invite was printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edge. The three-feathered badge of the Prince of Wales was given pride of place in the centre.
The invitations follow many years of Royal tradition and have been made by @BarnardWestwood. They feature the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales printed in gold ink. pic.twitter.com/cd7LBmRJxO
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 22, 2018
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 that she affectionately nicknamed Maude. pic.twitter.com/kWs2RFx7nN
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 22, 2018
Where did the royal wedding 2018 take place?
The marriage of Prince Harry and Markle took place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 12pm. They became the 16th royal couple to celebrate their marriage at Windsor Castle since 1863. The Queen granted permission for the ceremony to be held in the place of worship, which seats approximately 800, and core aspects of the wedding, including the service, music, flowers, decorations and reception, were paid for by the royal family. One week prior to the ceremony, the Queen signed the Instrument of Consent – the official document granting her grandson permission to marry his fiancé.
The cake – a lemon elderflower bake that incorporated the bright flavours of spring – was made by Violet Bakery’s Claire Ptak, and the flowers – branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, and white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves from the gardens and parkland of the Crown Estate and Windsor Park – were arranged by Philippa Craddock. Music for the service included a number of well-known hymns and choral works under the direction of James Vivian, director of music at St George’s Chapel.
The wedding cake is to be served at the Reception. It was designed by Claire Ptak and features elderflower syrup made at The Queen’s residence in Sandringham from the estate’s own elderflower trees, as well as a light sponge cake uniquely formulated for the couple. #royalwedding pic.twitter.com/kt5lE4tEn9
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
“This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom,” Jason Knauf, Prince Harry’s communications secretary, said prior to the celebration. “The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family. They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too.”
On the morning of the wedding, Kensington Palace published the order of service online, which was conducted by the Dean of Windsor and officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The couple selected words from The Marriage Service from Common Worship (2000), using contemporary language – such as the word “you” instead of “thee” and “thou” – and, as is common these days, Markle did not promise to “obey” Harry. Ben E King’s soul classic “Stand By Me” was performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir, and a gospel choir performed Etta James’s version of “Amen/This Little Light of Mine” as the newlyweds left the chapel. Hymns included the Welsh rugby anthem “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”, otherwise known as “Bread of Heaven”.
Markle’s ring was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by the Queen, while Prince Harry’s was created from platinum with a textured finish. Both rings were crafted in the Cleave workshop, and were carried to the chapel by the Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as best man.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
After the couple were married, they undertook a carriage procession from St George’s Chapel through Windsor town returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk. Alexi Lubomirski then took the official photographs at Windsor Castle.
“They 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,” a statement from Kensington Palace said in the run-up to the big day. “Following the service, there will be a reception at St George’s Hall for the couple and the guests from the congregation. Later that evening, the Prince of Wales will give a private evening reception for the couple and their close friends and family.”
Sir Elton John performed at the lunchtime reception for the newlyweds, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen.
On the morning of the nuptials, Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, accompanied Markle to Windsor Castle. Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, was not at the wedding to walk his daughter down the aisle, because of his health. In a statement made days before her wedding, Markle said she had “always cared” for her father and hoped he could be given the space he needed to focus on his wellbeing. It was subsequently announced that Prince Charles would give his future daughter-in-law away in her father’s absence.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 18, 2018
In regards to Diana, Princess of Wales’s legacy on the day, a statement from Kensington Palace confirmed: “In addition to having the support of The Queen, his father The Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince William as best man, Prince Harry is also keen to involve his mother’s family in his wedding. All three siblings of Diana, Princess of Wales will be in attendance and Lady Jane Fellowes will give the 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.”
Who was on the guest list?
Around 600 guests were in attendance, a small crowd in contrast to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who wed in front of 1,900 guests – a number just shy of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who invited 2,000 guests to their 1947 wedding. As Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne, he was not obliged to invite diplomats from across the globe to the celebration, which was less of a state occasion. “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders – both UK and international – is not required for Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding. Her Majesty’s government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by the royal household,” a spokesperson said in a statement on April 10.
Some of the 1,200 guests, who were selected by regional Lord Lieutenant offices from a broad range of backgrounds and age groups, were announced on Twitter, along with the stories of how they have served their communities.
The couple asked Lord Lieutenants to invite 1,200 people to join the celebrations, including young people who have shown strong leadership, and those who have served their communities.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 10, 2018
A group of 200 close acquaintances were invited to an after-party at Frogmore House, which is just a short walk from St George’s Chapel. See which high profile names attended the ceremony, here.
Frogmore House will also be open to royal fans from June 5 to 7, with all proceeds from the visits donated to the National Garden Scheme, the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and Prisoners’ Education Trust.
Who designed Meghan Markle’s wedding dress?
Markle married Prince Harry, and became the Duchess of Sussex wearing Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. Markle met Waight Keller in early 2018 and “chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour,” a statement from Kensington Palace said. “Ms Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who has now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses – Pringle of Scotland, Chloé, and now Givenchy.” Read everything you need to know about the collaboration, here.
Both Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge wore the frockcoat uniform of the blues and royals, which were tailored at Dege & Skinner on Savile Row. The Queen gave permission for Prince Harry to get married in his uniform.
Who were Meghan’s bridesmaids?
It was confirmed several days prior to the nuptials that
Prince George and Princess Charlotte would perform the roles of page boy and bridesmaid in the ceremony, alongside eight other young children. They were Prince Harry’s godchildren – Florence van Cutsem (3), Zalie Warren (2) and Jasper Dyer (6) – and Markle’s goddaughters – Remi and Rylan Litt (6 and 7) – and the three children of Jessica Mulroney, one of the bride’s closest friends – Ivy (4) and twins Brian and John (7).
Markle reportedly decided to forgo choosing adult bridesmaids from her close set of friends. Actress Priyanka Chopra, tennis champion Serena Williams, designer Misha Nonoo and stylist Mulroney were all names that were suggested.
Was there a bank holiday?
Although the public were given a day off to celebrate the weddings of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer in 1981, Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011, and Princess Anne to Mark Phillips in 1973, Prince Harry and his fiancée’s choice to wed on May 19 avoided the issue of whether or not the royal wedding should be a bank holiday.
Kensington Palace confirmed on April 9 via Twitter that the couple would like to forgo any traditional wedding presents in favour of donations to the following causes: CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis (a UK-based homelessness charity), the Myna Mahila Foundation (a charity that supports women in Mumbai’s urban slums), Scotty’s Little Soldiers (which helps bereaved Armed Forces children), StreetGames (a foundation using sport to change lives), Surfers against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK (which promotes the enjoyment of wild nature).
Prince Harry & Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill they have received since their engagement, & have asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion of their wedding considers giving to charity, instead of sending a gift. https://t.co/lzfrRmoeUv pic.twitter.com/nxrTZtIKBY
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 9, 2018