The day of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has finally arrived. Here’s everything you need to know – from how to watch it and who’s attending to who has designed the dress, flowers and cake…
When is the Royal Wedding?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19th 2018 in the town of Windsor near London, England. Unlike the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the 2018 Royal Wedding will not be a public bank holiday. However, it’s not all bad news… the pubs will be open until 1am on the Saturday night/ Sunday morning to allow two extra hours of “celebration” up and down the land.
Will it be on TV?
Due to the high profile of the wedding it is expected to be shown on TV networks around the world. A single pool camera will capture the nuptials and so most UK networks will air footage of the big day.
On ITV Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham will front the live coverage of the wedding on Saturday 19th May from a purpose-built studio in Windsor, beginning at 9.25am and running until 3pm. ITV3 will also produce a special hour-long Royal Wedding highlights show later in the day.
Sky has announced that it will broadcast the entire wedding in Ultra High Definition (UHD), a world first for any royal event, the broadcaster says.
Presenters Kay Burley and Anna Botting will front the Sky coverage from The Long Walk and Castle grounds., from 9am to 3pm.
The BBC has also announced that it will waive the licence fee for local communities wanting to watch the wedding, meaning that the British public will be able to watch the royal nuptials at special events and parties.
The Royal Wedding coverage will be broadcast all day on Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 4, 5 Live and Classic FM. Chris Evans starts the coverage at 8am on Radio 2, followed by hours of celebratory reporting cross the day.
What time is it on?
The ceremony itself is set to start at 12pm with coverage beginning early in the morning and lasting well into the afternoon.
Football fans should note that the Royal Wedding does take place on the same Saturday as the FA Cup final but the football airs much later in the afternoon, with kick-off scheduled for 5.15pm.
Where will the wedding take place?
The Royal Wedding will take place at Windsor Castle in the historic St George’s Chapel. The 800-seat chapel will hold the ceremony which is set to begin from 12PM.
The newlyweds will leave St George’s Chapel at 1pm to begin their carriage procession through the flag-filled streets of Windsor and back to Windsor Castle, which is expected to take about 25 minutes.
In order to be visible to as many people in the packed crowds as possible, they’ll travel in a horse-drawn Ascot Landau carriage, used by the Queen at Royal Ascot — although if it rains heavily they will use the gold-upholstered Scottish State Coach.
Their escort will be provided by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. The roads within the precincts of the castle will be lined by members of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, along with military personnel from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps and the Royal Gurkha Rifles (both of which Prince Harry served in, out in Afghanistan), the Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving Unit, the Royal Marines and also RAF Honington. Celebratory music will be provided by the Band of the Irish Guards.
What’s the carriage procession route?
The route will take the couple past the following landmarks: the bronze statue of Queen Victoria, created by the Austrian sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, which was unveiled for her Golden Jubilee in 1887; the 17th-century Guildhall, where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married in 2005 and which, later that same year, also hosted the civil partnership ceremony of Sir Elton John and David Furnish; The Church of St John the Baptist, once the site of a leper colony; The Victoria Barracks, where the Household Division, who provide the Foot Guards at Windsor Castle, is based; and the life-size bronze statues of two horses, Daniel and Storm — two Windsor Greys stabled at the Royal Mews who draw the Queen’s carriages on state occasions. The statues were erected to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Then it’s on to the magnificent, tree-lined and spectator-lined Long Walk, famous for The Copper Horse, a statue of George III on horseback. Finally, they will return to Windsor Castle for a formal luncheon reception, hosted by the Queen, for 600 wedding guests in St George’s Hall.
The dress the whole nation has been waiting to see has finally been revealed, and it’s designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. With a long, sweeping veil, the gown was described by Kirsty Young as “exquisitely cut, minimal and traditional”.
Invitations to the wedding (Getty)
Will Meghan’s father be at the wedding?
Meghan Markle released a statement on Twitter via the Kensington Palace account, confirming that “sadly” her father Thomas Markle would not be attending the wedding.
“I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health,” she added.
It had been revealed that a series of heartwarming and supposedly candid images of Mr Markle – including a snap of him brushing up on British history – had actually been orchestrated with a member of the paparazzi.
Kensington palace previously released a statement, asking for privacy and for “understanding and respect to be extended to Mr. Markle in this difficult situation”.
Mr Markle has claimed that the photos were taken to present a better front to the press, rather than for the money. However, the revelation has caused great embarrassment for the palace.
“He’s now decided not to go [to the wedding] because he doesn’t want to embarrass the Royal Family or his daughter,” TMZ reported.
Who will walk Meghan down the aisle?
In the absence of Ms Markle’s father, Kensington Palace has announced that Prince Charles will walk the bride down the aisle. The Prince of Wales was “pleased to be able to welcome Ms Markle to the Royal Family in this way”, the palace said in a statement.
Ms Markle’s mother Doria Ragland, a yoga instructor and social worker, had previously been the favourite to walk her daughter down the aisle.
Who will the bridesmaids and pageboys be?
There’ll be no adult bridesmaids or maid of honour at the wedding, as Meghan Markle reportedly struggled to choose between her friends. Instead, the six young bridesmaids are Princess Charlotte, Florence van Custem, Remi Litt, Rylan Litt, Ivy Mulroney and Zalie Warren.
The four pageboys are Prince George, Jasper Dyer, Brian Mulroney and John Mulroney.
Several other Suits stars have also recently arrived in the country, including Sarah Rafferty (Donna Paulsen) and Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter). They’re expected to join the ranks of a celebrity-studded guest list on the big day.
What are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new titles?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Kensington Palace has announced.
The Prince will also take on the titles Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel and, as well as Ms Markle’s Duchess title, she may also be known as Princess Henry of Wales.
Who is making the wedding cake?
Bringing an American flavour to the wedding, Californian raised chef Claire Ptak will be making the couple’s wedding cake. Where the Duke and Duchess opted for a more traditional, white iced cake, Ms Markle and Prince Harry have chosen an elderflower and lemon flavoured cake decorated with buttercream and fresh flowers.
While the choristers of St George’s provide the traditional vocal accompaniment under their director of music, James Vivian, the chapel roof will be lifted by the Kingdom Gospel Choir, conducted by Karen Gibson.
Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas joins an orchestra made up of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia.
The conductor will be Christopher WarrenGreen, who also performed at the weddings of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in 2005 and the Duke and Duchess.
Who is photographing the event?
Alexi Lubomirski, who photographed the pair for their engagement, will be taking the official wedding shots.
The photographer, descended from an influential Polish family, has the title His Serene Highness Prince Alexi Lubomirski. He has made a career photographing celebrities such as Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson.