From cakes to carriages, the royal wedding had no shortage of special moments as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. Here is everything you need to know about the biggest wedding of 2018.
Prince Harry and Markle were married on a Saturday, which 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 was married on a Thursday.
After the couple had announced their engagement in November 2017, invitations were in order.
The invitations followed years of royal tradition and were made by Barnard Westwood. Incorporating Markle’s and Prince Harry’s roots, the couple used American ink on an English card stock. Each invite was printed in gold and black. The invitations were also stamped with the Three Feather Badge of The Prince of Wales.
Prince Harry and Markle were married in St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, about 20 miles west of central London. Windsor is the oldest and largest castle in the world, and is an official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, who spends most of her weekends there.
The flower arrangements were key in making the chapel look as majestic as it did.
London-based florist Philippa Craddock worked with both Prince Harry and Markle on all the flowers for their wedding celebration. She used branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, along with white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves in her arrangements.
Many of the plants were sourced from the gardens of the royally owned Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park. The flowers were distributed to local charities after the wedding.
Time for the Wedding:
The biggest wedding of 2018 started at 8 A.M. in which invited members of the public began to gather on a lawn outside St George’s Chapel. From here, they were able to watch the royal family come and go.
In total, 2,640 people were invited to watch the wedding from inside the Castle Grounds. Many came from charities close to the couple, as well as over 1,200 who were nominated by their Lord Lieutenants.
At 9:30 A.M., the royal wedding guests congregated at the Round Tower before entering St George’s Chapel. Celebrity guests at the wedding included Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, David and Victoria Beckham, and Sir Elton John, who later performed at the wedding reception.
Two hours later, at 11:30 A.M., the members of the Royal Family arrived and entered the chapel through the Galilee Porch.
Fifteen minutes later, at 11.45 A.M. Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge arrived at the Chapel’s West Steps, walking past thousands of spectators. Ten minutes later, the Queen arrived at the chapel.
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 had to give permission for Prince Harry to get married in his uniform.
Last but not least, Markle arrived at the Chapel’s West Steps by car with her bridesmaids and pageboys.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte performed the roles of page boy and bridesmaid in the ceremony, alongside eight other young children.
Markle wore a simple, yet regal Givenchy wedding dress designed by Clare Waight Keller.
Freshmen Sulekha Mukunda said, “Meghan Markle looked beautiful in her understated gown. The only thing I did not like about the dress was that it was ill-fitting, which made it look odd and baggy.”
Markle worked closely with Keller on the dress design. The stunning white gown was also paired with a hand-embroidered 16.5-foot silk tulle veil with flowers representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The royal wedding dress release said, “The focus of the dress was the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully framed the shoulders and emphasized the slender sculpted waist. The lines of the dress extended towards the back where the train flowed in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves added a note of refined modernity.”
Her veil was held in place by Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, which was lent by The Queen.
After Markle made her debut at 12 P.M., the royal wedding ceremony began.
The wedding service combined British tradition with the bride’s African-American heritage.
The Most Rev. Bishop Michael Curry, who is the president of the U.S. Episcopal Church, gave an address at the wedding, and was invited by Markle. On the other side, the Rt. Rev. David Conner, who is the Dean of Windsor, conducted the service, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, officiated the marriage.
In a passionate speech, Bishop Curry also referenced the African-American spiritual song “Down by the Riverside,” which was sung by slaves, and when he realized he had gone on too long, he told his audience he had better wrap up, saying, “We gotta get you all married!”
Sophomore Gianna Matteisch said, “Bishop Michael Curry’s speech will go down in history. An African-American preacher evoking slavery to the British royal family; the family not so long ago had enslaved millions around the world. His speech clearly depicted that the world was becoming more and more accepting every day.”
His electric sermon, which both started and finished with quotes from minister and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., has received widespread praise.
Markle’s ring, a three-carat cushion cut diamond with two side diamonds alongside a center stone, was also amongst one of the highlights of the ceremony. The cost of the ring is estimated to be around $50,000, but with royal provenance, a ring like this could sell from anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million.
Prince Harry said, “The ring is obviously yellow-gold because that’s her [Markle’s] favorite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana and the little diamonds either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection, to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
After the rituals were finished, the wedding procession left at 1.05 P.M. The newlyweds undertook a carriage procession from St George’s Chapel through Windsor town, returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk.
Thousands of people lined the Carriage Procession route, which travelled through Windsor in glorious sunshine.
The carriage procession was followed by not one, but two wedding receptions.
The first celebration took place immediately after the ceremony at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle. A more public-facing event, the lunchtime gathering, was hosted by the Queen for 600 guests from the wedding service congregation.
The cake was among one of the highlights of the reception. For their special day, Prince Harry and Markle had a lemon elderflower cake made by pastry chef Claire Ptak, who owns the London-based Violet Bakery. Kensington Palace reported the cake had an elderflower syrup made at the Queen’s residence in Sandringham, and the filling was made from Amalfi lemon curd. The cake also had 150 fresh flowers, including peonies and roses, and elderflower buttercream.
A reception cannot be a reception without the music. Sir Elton John helped the newlyweds celebrate their first moments of marriage by singing for them in front of their guests.
The second reception was a private evening event for around 200 guests. Hosted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, it took place at Frogmore House, a royal residence in Windsor, just half a mile from Windsor Castle.
Overall, Markle and Prince Harry put their own unique spin on royal traditions.
What was your favorite part of the wedding and why? Did you like Markle’s dress; why or why not?