Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married on May 19, 2018. The couple’s decision to wed on a Saturday went against tradition, as royal weddings usually take place on a weekday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed on a Friday and the Queen on a Thursday. On the morning of the wedding it was announced that the Queen has conferred a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Prince Harry is thus His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Markle has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.
The chosen date fell on the same day as the FA Cup final at Wembley, a match that Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke of Cambridge, usually attends as president of the Football Association to present the trophy. The May date may also have been selected in order to give the Duchess of Cambridge time to recover after the birth of her third child, Prince Louis. The invitations follow many years of royal tradition and were made by Barnard Westwood. Using American ink on English card, each invite was printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edge. The three-feathered badge of the Prince of Wales was given pride of place in the centre.
The marriage of Prince Harry and Markle took place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 12pm. They became the 16th royal couple to celebrate their marriage at Windsor Castle since 1863. The Queen granted permission for the ceremony to be held in the place of worship, which seats approximately 800, and core aspects of the wedding, including the service, music, flowers, decorations and reception, were paid for by the royal family. One week prior to the ceremony, the Queen signed the Instrument of Consent – the official document granting her grandson permission to marry his fiancé.
The wedding cake is to be served at the Reception. It was designed by Claire Ptak and features elderflower syrup made at The Queen’s residence in Sandringham from the estate’s own elderflower trees, as well as a light sponge cake uniquely formulated for the couple. #royalwedding pic.twitter.com/kt5lE4tEn9
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) 19 maggio 2018
On the morning of the wedding, Kensington Palace published the order of service online, which was conducted by the Dean of Windsor and officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The couple selected words from The Marriage Service from Common Worship (2000), using contemporary language – such as the word “you” instead of “thee” and “thou” – and, as is common these days, Markle did not promise to “obey” Harry. Ben E King’s soul classic “Stand By Me” was performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir, and a gospel choir performed Etta James’s version of “Amen/This Little Light of Mine” as the newlyweds left the chapel. Hymns included the Welsh rugby anthem “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”, otherwise known as “Bread of Heaven”. Markle’s ring was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by the Queen, while Prince Harry’s was created from platinum with a textured finish. Both rings were crafted in the Cleave workshop, and were carried to the chapel by the Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as best man.
After the couple were married, they undertook a carriage procession from St George’s Chapel through Windsor town returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk. Alexi Lubomirski then took the official photographs at Windsor Castle.
“They hope this short journey will provide an opportunity for more people to come together around Windsor and to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day,” a statement from Kensington Palace said in the run-up to the big day. “Following the service, there will be a reception at St George’s Hall for the couple and the guests from the congregation. Later that evening, the Prince of Wales will give a private evening reception for the couple and their close friends and family.”
Sir Elton John performed at the lunchtime reception for the newlyweds, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen.
Around 600 guests were in attendance, a small crowd in contrast to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who wed in front of 1,900 guests – a number just shy of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who invited 2,000 guests to their 1947 wedding. As Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne, he was not obliged to invite diplomats from across the globe to the celebration, which was less of a state occasion. “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders – both UK and international – is not required for Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding. Her Majesty’s government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by the royal household,” a spokesperson said in a statement on April 10. Some of the 1,200 guests, who were selected by regional Lord Lieutenant offices from a broad range of backgrounds and age groups, were announced on Twitter, along with the stories of how they have served their communities.