Royal Wedding Countdown: New Details Released for the Big Day
We now have lots of new information to share about Meghan and Harry’s wedding and those participating in the event. This includes word that Meghan’s parents will be meeting the Queen and other Royal Family members in the week before the wedding; Meghan’s decision on a maid/matron of honor; the way Harry’s mother, Diana, is being recognized.
From the news release:
We said from the outset that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle were keen to make sure that members of the public would have the opportunity to feel part of the celebrations on their wedding day. This is their way of expressing their gratitude for the messages of support they have received from around the UK, the Commonwealth, Ms. Markle’s home country of the United States, and right around the world.
The news release notes that:
…this wedding will be guided by tradition, allowing everyone to celebrate what makes Royal Weddings so special, but also one which reflects the personalities of Prince Harry and Ms. Markle.”
Here are some of the key points:
- Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, will walk the bride down the aisle.
- Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, will ride together to St. George’s Chapel.
- Meghan will not have a maid of honor; all of the attendants will be children.
- Diana, Princess of Wales, will be honored at the wedding by the presence of all of her siblings; additionally, Lady Jane Fellowes, her sister, will do the reading.
- Meghan & Harry have postponed their honeymoon; they have an engagement the week after their wedding.
- Formal photographs that will be taken by Alexi Lubomirski will be released the week following the wedding.
- Prince Philip hopes to be in attendance but that depends entirely on his recovery from hip replacement surgery. Prince Louis will not be at the wedding.
- Per tradition, the pair will spend the night before the wedding apart. Meghan is staying at an undisclosed location, while Harry is expected to stay at Windsor Castle.
- Harry and Meghan will spend their first night as a married couple at Windsor Castle.
- At some point after the events we should hear directly from some of those involved in the wedding and reception; KP will be facilitating interviews.
- Joe Little of Majesty magazine reports the full guest list will not be made public.
- As reported in The Latest Buzz, Windsor will be decorated with bunting and banners to celebrate the day. There will be 140 Royal Borough Ambassadors to assist visitors.
- There is no news on the dress(es) Meghan will wear, nor will any be released by the Palace before the day. (We expect to see 2 dresses, one by a “name designer” (like Erdem, Roland Mouret, or another luxury label) and the other perhaps by a small, boutique label.
And now for a little more information regarding some of the elements described above.
Meghan’s Parents: Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, and her father, Thomas Markle, will arrive in the UK at some point in the week before the wedding. From the news release:
Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are very much looking forward to welcoming Ms. Markle’s parents to Windsor for the wedding. Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland will be arriving in the UK in the week of the wedding, allowing time for Prince Harry’s family, including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to spend time with them before the big day.
Below, Meghan with her mother in Toronto last September at the Invictus Games.
Maid of Honor: Meghan will not have the traditional Maid of Honor many Americans are accustomed to seeing at weddings, but will be “assisted” by several of her close friends. The group is sure to include Jessica Mulroney (more about her in this post) and several of Meghan’s other friends. More from Erin Hill’s People story:
She has a very close-knit circle of friends and she didn’t want to choose one over another,” a palace spokesman said on Friday.
“All have been actively involved in helping her prepare for the day and will be there in the days beforehand. She’s very happy to have their support.”
Other Bridal Party Members: The Palace says that Meghan’s other attendants will all be children, filling the roles of Flower Girls and Pageboys. More from The Telegraph’s coverage:
The bridal party is expected to include Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry’s godchildren, and the children of Ms Markle’s closest friends.”
Among the youngsters tipped to attend are Ivy, the daughter of Jessica Mulroney, Jasper, the son of Prince Harry’s mentor Mark Dyer, and Prince Harry’s niece and nephew George and Charlotte.
Other Royal Family Members: As noted, Prince Philip, who is 96, hopes to attend the wedding. More from The Daily Mail:
Asked whether Philip would be at the wedding, a palace aide said today: ‘We very much hope so.’ The Duke of Edinburgh is currently recuperating from a hip replacement and will likely be aided with a ‘stylish stick or cane’ if he does attend his grandson’s big day.
Prince Louis will not be at the wedding or receptions.
The Family of Diana, Princess of Wales: The news release notes that:
In addition to having the support of The Queen, his father The Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince William as Best Man, Prince Harry is also keen to involve his mother’s family in his wedding.
Harry’s mother is being recognized by the presence of her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, as well as her brother, Earl Spencer; they will all be at the wedding. As noted above, Lady Jane Fellowes will do the reading. From The Telegraph’s coverage: “Lady Jane and Lady Sarah have already spent time getting to know Ms Markle, who spoke of her joy at meeting them in the couple’s engagement interview.”
The Honeymoon: The couple is delaying the start of their honeymoon. They have an engagement the week after the wedding they don’t want to miss.
Media Coverage: Emily Nash of Hello! reports the media presence is going to be enormous.
- 5000 journalists have been accredited. This includes:
- 76 different international networks
- 46 US affiliates
The Photos: As previously reported, the wedding photographer is Alexi Lubomirski, who took the couple’s formal engagement photographs. Some of his photos from the wedding will be released the week after the wedding.
SATURDAY TIMINGS (first time shown is local time):
- 9:30 AM (4:30 EDT) – Arrival of guests begins at the Round Tower; they will then walk to the south door of the Chapel.
- 11:20 AM (6:20 EDT) – Members of the royal family arrive, entering St. George’s Chapel at the Galilee Porch. Some will be on foot and some will arrive by car.
- Prince Harry & Prince William will also arrive now, most likely on foot, and enter via the West Steps. Harry & William will be able to acknowledge the 200 charity representatives gathered at the Horseshoe Cloister Steps.
- We will see pool coverage of Meghan and her mother leaving “from the bride’s overnight location.” Their trip to the Chapel will take them along part of the Long Walk, allowing some members of the public to see them as they drive by; this will be followed by a brief stop at the Castle.
- At the Castle Meghan’s mother will go to the Chapel, and Meghan will be joined by the Bridesmaids and Pageboys before she then enters the church at the West Steps.
- Noon (7:00 AM EDT) – The ceremony is expected to last about one hour. More details on the service itself will be released between now and the wedding. The full Order of Service will be published on the Royal Family site Saturday morning.
- 1:00 PM (8:00 AM EDT) – Meghan and Harry make their first appearance as newlyweds on the West Steps and then greet charity representatives gathered in the Cloister.
- Meghan and Harry will prepare to start their carriage ride through Windsor
- Family members will gather on the West Steps to ‘wave them off on their Procession.”
- Members of the congregation will exit the Chapel, moving to the grass to see the couple start their carriage ride.
- Those guests will then walk to the reception at St. George’s Hall.
- After their carriage procession Meghan and Harry will join the reception
- 7:00 pm-ish (2:00 pm-ish) – Meghan and Harry will attend their private reception. They will take time to be photographed as they leave Windsor Castle for Frogmore House.
The Daily Mail has put together a terrific graphic showing the relevant locations at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and the surrounding areas.
- The news release may be seen in its entirety here.
- Find out how to watch or stream the wedding (and special programing before the big day) on our TV/Online Coverage page here at WMW; it is updated daily.
- The Daily Mail’s story by Rebecca English and Ed Riley with details on the schedule/timings and that great graphic may be seen here; The Telegraph’s piece by Hannah Furness with details on the wedding party is here; Hannah’s story on the way Princess Diana is being recognized is here
- People’s story from Erin Hill about Meghan’s choice not to have a maid of honor may be read here; the story about the couple spending the night before the wedding apart is here
- The Mirror’s overview is here; there is additional coverage here
NOTE: The post has been edited to correct an error about the age of Lady Jane Fellowes & update information on Harry and Meghan’s Friday night locations. Thank you to Mary for her comment pointing out the mistakes!