Prince Harry will get married to Hollywood star Meghan Markle on Saturday May 19, 2018, Kensington Palace in just a couple of weeks.
It will be the most important day of their shared lives to date, imbued with centuries-old tradition as they take vows before God, their families and the Queen.
But not for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a day of too much solemnity, as they promise a 2018 wedding focused on fun, joy and a chance to celebrate with the public.
The couple, who announced their engagement in November, are planning their own wedding celebration that “reflects the characters of the bride and groom”.
Harry and Meghan will say “I do” in May at St George’s Chapel, which is nestled within the grounds of Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry was christened when he was three months old. It is said to have become a “very special place” for the couple in their relationship so far.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office at Buckingham Palace is responsible for organising royal weddings, but Harry and Ms Markle are leading the show. However, under the guidance of Harry’s private secretary, Edward Lane Fox, the Lord Chamberlain’s Office is dealing with the ceremonial aspects of the day.
The service will begin at 12pm.
The “core aspects” of the wedding, including the church service, associated music, flowers, decorations and reception, will be paid for by the Royal Family, with Ms Markle’s parents both set to attend.
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Invitations have been posted to 600 lucky guests, with a select 200 close friends invited to an after party at Frogmore House, Windsor.
Royal sources said the guest list will be restricted to those who have a direct relationship with the couple, and was taken both because St George’s Chapel is relatively small, and because the prince is not in the direct line of succession.
Other guests will include members of Ms Markle’s family – her mother Doria Ragland and father Thomas Markle Snr – and of course many members of the royal family.
Tennis star Serena Williams and Ms Markle’s former Suits co-stars Sarah Rafferty, Patrick J Adams and Wendell Pierce could also be on the list.
The invitations were produced by Barnard & Westwood, which has held the “Royal Warrant for Printing & Bookbinding by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen” since 1985.
Two choirs, an orchestra and fanfare trumpeters provided music for the service. The orchestra was made up of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In addition to the Chior of St George’s Chapel, the Kingdom Choir, a gospel group, will also perform, while the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry will provide the fanfare. The music was under the overall direction of James Vivian, the chapel’s Organist and Director of Music; the Kingdom Choir was conducted by Karen Gibson, while the orchestra was conducted by Christopher Warren-Green.
Following the ceremony, at least part of the reception is likely to take place in St George’s Hall – a grand 180ft-long room within Windsor Castle which is often used for large state banquets.
Then at 1pm, the newlyweds will then undertake a two mile tour of Windsor greeting well-wishers( 2,640 charity workers, community champions and local school children) who are being invited to watch the wedding from inside the walls of Windsor Castle.They will leave Windsor Castle by carriage via Castle Hill, travelling along the High Street and through Windsor Town before returning along the Long Walk for their reception for congregation guests at St George’s Hall.
In the evening, Prince Charles will also give a private evening reception for the couple and close friends and family.