On Saturday, May 19, 2018, 600 invited guests, and more than 13 million television viewers worldwide, witnessed the fairytale wedding of Britain's Prince Harry to American actress, model, and humanitarian Meghan Markle in Windsor Castle’s St. George's Chapel. Though all weddings are magical, this trans-Atlantic whirlwind royal romance, which began with a blind date in July 2016, was powerful enough to melt even the most jaded hearts.
Meghan, accompanied by Prince Charles of Wales, glided past attendees in a stunning, minimalist dress designed by Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of British fashion house Givenchy. Her 16-foot-long silk tulle veil was stitched with distinctive national flora from all 53 Commonwealth Countries, along with wheat to represent love and charity, California poppy to commemorate Meghan’s birth state, and wintersweet, which grows in the couple’s private Kensington Palace garden. The veil was held in place by a stunning diamond bandeau tiara that originally belonged to Harry’s great-great-grandmother Queen Mary (1867-1953). As the gorgeous bride-to-be neared the altar, Harry could be seen mouthing: "You look amazing. I'm so lucky."
Following a powerful sermon delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American leader of the Episcopal Church, the couple exchanged vows and rings. Crafted by court jeweler Cleave and Company, Meghan’s band was fashioned from Welsh Gold gifted by the Queen, while Harry opted for a platinum ring with a textured finish. Upon completion of the ceremony, Meghan became the first ever Duchess of Sussex. While Harry is not the first Duke of Sussex, the position has been vacant since 1843. Receiving these positions is royal custom: the reigning monarch, in this case, Queen Elizabeth II, decides the name based on tradition, preference, and whether or not a title is available.
After the wedding, the newlyweds enjoyed a carriage ride around Windsor waving to the thousands of fans, who had been patiently waiting for hours to get a glimpse of the royal couple. Then came the lunchtime reception for the 600 guests at St. George's Hall. Hosted by the Queen, it featured a variety of savory canapés and “bowl food,” including citrus crème fraiche, grilled English asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian ham, and garden pea panna cotta with quail eggs. For dessert, they feasted on sweet canapés as well as lemon elderflower cake, a departure from the traditional royal fruit cake. At the groom’s request, the guests were treated to a special concert by famed British singer, and family friend, Sir Elton John.
Prior to the more intimate evening reception at Frogmore House, Meghan changed into a silk halter-neck gown by English designer Stella McCartney and wore her something old, something borrowed, and something blue in the form of an aquamarine cocktail ring that belonged to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. This is not Meghan’s only nod to the regal woman who tragically passed away in 1997: her engagement ring included two stones from one of Diana’s brooches. In their party finery, the new royal couple drove to the 17th-century manor in a silver-blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero to enjoy festivities and fireworks with their 200 closest relatives and friends.
As if sharing their magical day with the world was not enough, the couple also asked would-be gift givers to donate to one, or more, of seven charities of their choosing. They also requested their wedding flowers be distributed to the patients at St. Joseph's Hospice in London.
The couple, who delayed their honeymoon for a few days to attend Prince Charles’ 70th birthday event on May 22, are reportedly soon heading to exotic locales like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and the Caribbean. Upon returning, the Duchess of Sussex will begin her royal duties, which include supporting the Queen both in the UK and abroad, and devoting her time to the philanthropic causes she is so passionate about.
Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple!