After months of anticipation, Britain’s Prince Harry finally announced his engagement to American actress, model, and humanitarian Rachel Meghan Markle. As per British royalty tradition, the official statement released on November 27, came from the groom’s father, Charles, Prince of Wales — the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and heir apparent to the British Throne.
The wedding, scheduled for May 2018, will take place at St. George’s Chapel, a 15th century gothic chapel set on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Queen’s favorite weekend retreat. While not as big as Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married in 2011, it can still accommodate as many as 800 guests. Though the wedding will be paid for by the Royal Family, Jason Knauf, the couple’s spokesperson, says Prince Harry and Ms. Markle intend to “lead the planning process for all aspects of the wedding. He asserts, "This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom."
During a press conference following the announcement, the blushing bride-to-be showed off her engagement ring. Designed by Prince Harry, it comprises two diamonds from his mother Princess Diana’s jewelry collection and one from Botswana, where the couple holidayed recently. Markle said Harry proposed earlier this month, while they were roasting a chicken at their Nottingham Cottage residence at Kensington Palace. The soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex says she could barely wait for him to finish proposing to say yes.
The whirlwind romance between the Prince, who is fifth in line to the British throne, and Markle began about 18 months ago when the couple was set up on a blind date in London by a mutual friend. By July 2016, the two had fallen in love, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Though the guest list has not been released or even finalized yet, there is rampant speculation about the invitees. Given Prince Harry’s close friendship with former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, they are most likely to be among the first to get the royal invite. Markle will probably include tennis superstar Serena Williams as well as her co-stars from the US television series Suits, which she appeared in for 7 seasons. While British residents are certainly interested in knowing who the attendees will be, they are more curious to know if the wedding day will be declared a public holiday. Given that Prince Harry and Markle want to ensure that the citizens "feel part of the celebrations," their wish may very well come true.
Resources: Time.com, dailymail.co.uk, cnn.com, BBC.co.uk