The royal wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle
19 May 2018
All the details from the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Images: BBC ‘The Royal Wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’ broadcast
The culmination of a modern love story which has made its mark on British history, the royal wedding was a momentous occasion attended by hundreds of guests, watched by thousands of bystanders, and broadcast to billions of people across the globe.
Anticipation and excitement has been mounting since the announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement in November 2017 and the royal wedding on Saturday, 19th May 2018 did not disappoint.
Thousands lined the streets of sunny Windsor to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom and share in the celebrations of their joyous day at Windsor Castle. A host of celebrities were among the 600 guests who attended the ceremony, with Victoria and David Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, James Blunt, Tom Hardy, James Corden and Elton John – as well as some of Meghan’s Suits co-stars – just some of the familiar faces in attendance.
Welcomed by a sea of fluttering Union Jack flags and cheering crowds, Prince Harry arrived alongside his brother and best man, Prince William. Dressed in their respective military attire, the royal siblings shared a short walk through the grounds of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and into the chapel via the West Door.
Members of the royal family shortly followed: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, then Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The Queen wore a lime coat and dress with purple accents by Stewart Parvin and hat by Angela Kelly. Prince George and Princess Charlotte, together with the other page boys and flower girls, arrived with the Duchess of Cambridge shortly after.
Then for the moment the world has been waiting for… the arrival of Meghan Markle and the reveal of the wedding dress that has garnered such speculation over the last six months.
Meghan journeyed from Cliveden House via Rolls-Royce Phantom IV with her mother, Doria Ragland. Wearing her hair in an elegant chignon accessorised with a statement Queen Mary diamond tiara, Meghan’s sensational Givenchy gown by Clare Waight Keller and cathedral length veil took centre stage. Striking a stylish balance between the traditional and contemporary, the dress featured a bateau neckline and modestly minimalist, form fitting design with long sleeves.
Bridal designer Raishma who trained under Princess Diana’s bridal gown designer, Elizabeth Emanuel, commented: “Meghan clearly went for the more sedate side of Hollywood glamour in her choice of dress, more Grace Kelly than anything ostentatious. The veil is the real talking point, the length alone is staggering with an embroidered scalloped border around the edges. The colour is a brilliant white which really created an ethereal entrance.
“The choice of Givenchy is impressive and classic. While it may be a famously French couture house, Meghan has opted for the new in-house British designer, Clare Waight Keller, who was previously creative director at French fashion house Chloé. The dress is an example of couture design at its most classic and timeless.”
As rumoured, Meghan began her ascension of the aisle on her own and was joined by Prince Charles at a midway point within the chapel. Confirmed a few days before the wedding, Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, was not in attendance due to ill health but had given his blessing to Prince Charles to fulfil the traditional role of giving his daughter away. Walking to Eternal Source of Light Divine sung by Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, Meghan was the perfect blushing bride.
The ceremony comprised a reading of Song of Solomon by Lady Jane Fellowes, hymns such as If He Loves Me, a gospel rendition of Stand By Me from The Kingdom Choir, a captivating cello performance by Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and a powerful sermon from Reverend Michael Curry. The congregation also sang Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer - a tribute to Harry's late mother, the inimitable Princess Diana, who had reputedly loved the song. It is even thought that an empty seat beside Prince William throughout the service was reserved in her honour and Meghan's bouquet also featured flowers hand-picked by Harry which were known to be favourites of the people's princess.
The bride and groom held hands throughout the ceremony, their love and adoration for one another clear to see. Cleave & Company were the chosen jewellers who designed and made the wedding rings; Meghan’s ring fashioned from Welsh gold gifted by the Queen and Harry’s ring, a platinum band with a textured finish.
Once pronounced man and wife, the newly titled Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their exit through the chapel. Aboard an Ascot Landau Carriage once outside, the bride and groom travelled through Windsor flanked by The Household Cavalry. Awash with the British colours of red, white and blue, the procession delivered the pomp, pageantry and patriotism expected of a royal event.
Public speaking coach, Carole Spiers, was reporting live from the media tent on the day. She said: Being invited to contribute to the official media coverage at the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was indeed a great honour and privilege. The atmosphere at the Long Walk in Windsor was second to none. It was a day of real celebration with strangers talking to one another in a spirit of joyous anticipation for the historic event of the day and enjoying its special moments. A truly special day that will remain in the memory for a very long time."
The rumour mill surrounding the wedding reception continues apace, but suggested details include a festival theme, a performance from Elton John and ice cream for all guests at 3am. The couple were pictured leaving Windsor Castle in a Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero for their evening celebrations at Frogmore House, with Harry wearing a black tuxedo and Meghan, a second dress by Stella McCartney. Meghan further paid homage to Princess Diana by wearing an aquamarine ring that had once belonged to her.
However, with the full reception rundown a closely guarded secret until the couple decides to share it, the public can do little but to enjoy the everlasting memories of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Here's what bystanders in Windsor had to say:
Helen Reeve, a cattle farmer from Alburgh near Harleston, was among the crowd who was specially invited into the grounds of Windsor Castle - one of six Norfolk representatives selected by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk to watch the royal arrivals. She said: “The atmosphere was electric. The people were friendly and the staff were helpful, it was quite a big honour to go. I never thought I would be a stone’s throw away from George Clooney. I was quite excited to see Johnny Wilkinson, I’ve been a fan of him for such a long time and there he was in front of me, it was quite bizarre. It was good to be in the atmosphere and soak up the sun. All the people who were there had their stories to tell and it was lovely to hear them. It was amazing and also a break from tradition. It was truly a special day.”
Celine Bailly travelled from France to join her London friends Faith Nwosu and Precious Shumba to celebrate the wedding in Windsor. She said: “The day was long but in the end to catch a glimpse of the couple it was worth it."
Rebecca Fernandez, 61, travelled thousands of miles across the globe from Australia to be part of the big day. She had met Prince Harry last year when he visited Sydney for the Invictus Games. "I shook his hand. I'm excited to see him. I was here for his mother’s wedding, it was beautiful."
Comments recorded by Taz Ali for the Eastern Daily Press.