Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry in 2018 – with the eyes of the world on them as they tie the knot.
Seven years after Harry was best man for brother William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, there’s no doubt it will be the wedding of the year.
When Harry and Meghan announced their engagement to a flurry of excitement in November, they set a rough date for their royal wedding – just days after Harry popped the question over roast chicken.
But there’s a lot the lovebirds need to decide.
Who will be on the guest list? What dress will Meghan wear? Where will Harry go on his stag do? And will any of the bridesmaids steal the limelight like cheeky Pippa?
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Wedding date confirmed
Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding day will be Saturday May 19, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
The couple had initially promised a Spring wedding when they announced their engagement, narrowing it down to May the following date. The date was officially confirmed in December by Kensington Palace, with a statement released on Twitter.
Will the royal wedding be a bank holiday?
The first question on many people’s mind when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement was announced – do we get a day off work and school?
When Kate Middleton and Prince Williiam tied the knot in the stunning Westminster Abbey in London on Friday April 29 2011, the British public was given a bonus bank holiday.
But there won’t be one this time around as Harry is lower down the line of succession – plus the Saturday ceremony means much of the country will be able to have the day off to watch it if they want to.
A church wedding beckons, despite Meghan being a divorcee, after the Archbishop of Canterbury said the newly engaged couple had “chosen to make their vows before God”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, who is expected to perform the ceremony, said he was “absolutely delighted” to hear their news.
He wished them “many years of love, happiness and fulfilment”.
The day after the engagement news was released, it was announced the wedding would take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Prince Charles and Camilla had their blessing there in 2005 and it was where Harry was christened.
Harry’s communication’s secretary Jason Knauf said Windsor was a “very special place” for Harry, and that he and Ms Markle had spent time there together during their 16-month romance.
He said the couple were delighted to be holding the wedding in the “beautiful grounds of Windsor”.
The couple are “extremely grateful” for the happy response to their announcement, adding they were also grateful to The Queen for granting use of the chapel.
Meghan has her own girl squad in Toronto, so there sould be plenty of glamorous friends wanting to her bridesmaids.
One of her best friends is Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, 37, whose father-in-law was former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. She’s been inseparable since Meghan moved to Canada to film Suits and was regularly seen partying with her on Instagram.
Another close friend is US actress and former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra, 35, who hit it off with Meghan after they met at a Toronto party two years ago. The Quantico and Baywatch star, who has made more than 50 Bollywood films, shares her passion for charity work and has also made it clear she has Meghan’s back – on a recent appearance on a US talk show she lambasted host Wendy Williams for calling Meghan “Prince Harry’s girlfriend”, saying “Also Meghan Markle … you know, an actress in Suits, her own achievements…”.
Also in the running is Tennis ace pal Serena Williams , who she first met at a charity flag football game in February 2014.
One person it’s unlikely to be is Meghan’s half-sister, Samanatha Grant. Samantha, who shares the same father, has previously spoken out against Meghan, calling her a “social climber” and suggesting she’d targeted Harry as she has “a soft spot for gingers”, however she’s recently reached out to say she regrets their earlier fallouts.
When it comes to the Page Boy and Flower Girl, it’s all bets are off for a cameo from Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Meanwhile bookies have already set the odds of Prince William being best Man at 1/10.
As a stylist, best pal Jessica Mulroney may well be called in to help Meghan pick out the perfect wedding gown for her big day.
Meghan previously posed in a beautiful gown for Canada’s Hello magazine, modelling a gown from Jessica’s Kleinfeld Canada bridal shop. The picture was reposted last year, showing Meghan in a pincess-style full skirted gown with the hasttag “Princess goals.”
That style seems to fit with Meghan’s own passions. When asked about her perfect wedding dress, she once said: “I personally prefer dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.”
She’s also previously said she’ll “always be a fan of Elie Saab” when asked about her perfect wedding dress, the Lebanese designer known for embroidery and embellishments.
We also have a clue what she might not want. While she also loved Anne Barge Versailles dress, left, she wore when her Suits’ character Rachel Zane was jilted on her wedding day by Mike Ross, Meghan stressed it was a little too formal for her taste, saying: “It’s not my personal style, because I’m a lot more relaxed than Rachel but I love that I got to play dress up in this gown.”
Meghan’s first beach wedding to director Trevor Engleton saw her wear a simple strapless white dress with a silver belt.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and Harry’s pals Tom Inskip, Thomas van Straubenzee, Arthur Landon and Guy Pelly will, of course, be on the groom’s side of the church, as well as The Duchess of Cambridge who will be either heavily pregnant or a new mum at the time.
Natalie Pinkham, Ben Fogle, Joss Stone and The Obamas are also likely to be on Harry’s list, while he’ll also be welcoming to Meghan’s family – he has a good relationship with Meghan’s yoga-loving mum Doria, and has spoken to her dad Tom, a former Married With Children director, but not yet met him.
Meghan is also pals with former Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh as well as Sophie Ellis-Bexter and her husband Richard Jones.
The actress is also very close to her Suits co-stars which could mean invites for Patrick J Adams and his wife, Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellasario, and Gabriel Macht and his Bridget Jones’ actress wife Jacinda Barrett. She’s also likely to invite co-stars Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres, best known for hit Firefly, who she previously asked for advice, saying: “Sarah and Gina give me such great advice – not just on being a good actor but being a wife and mom some day.”
While details of the big day are still being kept under wraps, it’s likely Meghan will have already picked out her bridesmaids.
She’s often credited her girl squad for their rock-hard support, particularly as the public clamoured to know more about the woman who won Harry’s heart.
The actress always wears her grandma’s charm bracelet on her left wrist, so she’s likely to wear an heirloom from her own family as well as royal jewels on the big day.
And her stunning engagement ring, worth an estimated £50,000, was designed by Prince Harry and has a centre diamond from Botswana, where they went on holiday for her birthday. Either side is a diamond from his mother Princess Diana’s personal collection.
When it comes to make-up, she star is good friends with British make-up artist Tanya Burr, who regularly posted on Meghan’s now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig. When asked her beauty secrets, Meghan previously revealed she’s a fan of contouring made famous by the Kardashians. She said: “The power of concealer, with the hours we work, is pretty brutal. The highlight and the contour and just knowing your angles. And of course hydrating is the biggest secret.”
Hen and stag dos
In the past Meghan has talked about her ideal hen do, saying: “The thought of running around a city trying to get into clubs and wearing headbands of the phallic persuasion didn’t seem very ‘on brand’ for us”.
Instead she said a girls’ getaway in Europe was her perfect destination and raved about pal Lindsay Roth’s hen do in Hydra, Greece.
Meghan said of it: “There is something cathartic about being able to turn it all off – to sunbathe with no one watching, swim in the briny Mediterranean, eat copious amounts of Greek salads.”
Bookies are taking bets on Harry returning Las Vegas, scene of his naked billiard game in 2012. But with his love of privacy, he’s more likely to follow William and have a bash at a private country house.
Hot favourite locations are Cornwall – he has regularly hung out at Rock with his private school pals – or Anglesey where his brother used to live in a cottage with wife Kate.
Just like her character Rachel in Suits, Meghan has revealed she has an “obsession” with food.
She said she loves “fresh seafood and wonderful wine”. And she has posted her favourite recipes, including sweet potato and white bean soup and smoked salmon and dill dip.
Meghan’s other speciality is roast chicken, which they were making when Harry proposed.
So will they be making an appearance on the wedding reception menu? As for the wedding song, Meghan is a big fan of pop. She lists English singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and French band Christine and The Queens on her playlist of favourites, describing them as “a little euphonious pick-me-up”.
Harry and Meghan are also fans of American rock outfit The Killers and enjoyed a public date at their Hyde Park concert in the summer.
Botswana has a special place in the couple’s heart after Harry revealed he invited Meghan there just three weeks after their first meeting.
Last night he raved how it was “absolutely fantastic” and that they “camped out with each other under the stars”. They returned for Meghan’s birthday this year – so could it be top choice for their honeymoon?
Meghan is also a huge fan of Croatia, calling it “unbelievable” and sharing pictures on her The Tig. The site gave further insight into where Meghan loves to travel, with her “Insider Guides” listing Bordeaux, New York, Madrid and Athens among her favourite cities in the world.
Where will Harry and Meghan live?
Tucked away in the grounds of Kensington Palace, the newly-engaged couple will set up home in the prince’s current apartment, Nottingham Cottage, a two-bedroom property on the 17th century estate.
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