The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are celebrating their second wedding anniversary. Harry and Meghan married on 19 May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. As the couple mark this milestone, Royal Central rewinds to their royal wedding.
On 27 November 2017, Clarence House announced that Prince Harry would marry Meghan Markle in the spring of 2018. Meghan was given a bespoke engagement ring made by Cleave and Company, consisting of a large central diamond from Botswana and two smaller diamonds from the collection of Harry’s mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. At the time of the engagement, it was announced that the couple would live at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace following their wedding.Embed from Getty Images
The couple posed for photographers at Kensington Palace the same day and answered questions from the press regarding their relationship and their upcoming nuptials. The newly-engaged couple then sat down for an interview with BBC’s Mishal Husain where they opened up about how Harry proposed. The couple revealing that it was a “cosy night” earlier in the month at Nottingham Cottage when the pair were roasting a chicken.
“It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got down on one knee,” Meghan said. “As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I said ‘Can I say yes now?”
Markle would become the second American and the first person of mixed-race heritage to marry into the British Royal Family. Under the terms of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, the first six persons in line of succession require the Sovereign’s consent in order to marry. At the time of the engagement, Harry was fifth in line to the throne. The Queen’s consent was declared to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 14 March 2018.
While Markle attended a private Catholic school when she was young, she is not Roman Catholic. On 6 March 2018, she was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at St James’s Palace. Although Meghan’s first marriage had been dissolved, the Anglican Church does permit the remarriage of divorced people whose previous spouses are still living. Following her engagement, Meghan also began the process of applying formally for British citizenship.Embed from Getty Images
Unlike the wedding of Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, the wedding was not declared a bank holiday. The couple chose the date of Saturday, 19 May 2018 for their marriage. The celebrations also took place on the same day as the FA Cup Final, which William usually attended as he is President of the Football Association. Holding a royal wedding on a weekend was a break from the royal tradition of having weddings on a weekday but more in line with the American tradition of celebrating on the weekend.
The Final Rehearsals
On Thursday, 17 May, just days before the couple was set to tie the knot at St George’s Chapel, Prince Harry and Meghan, along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared for the first dress rehearsal of the ceremony.Embed from Getty Images
The couple would be seen just hours after Meghan released a statement confirming that her father, Thomas Markle, would not be attending the wedding due to health concerns.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support. Please know how much Harry and I look forward to sharing our special day with you on Saturday.”
On Friday May 18th, Harry and Meghan were spotted arriving at Windsor Castle for their final rehearsal, waving to onlookers as they made their journey. The outing would come just hours after Kensington Palace confirmed that Prince Charles would be stepping in for Meghan’s father and walking her down the aisle.
Later that same day, Meghan was seen arriving at the hotel where she would be spending the night before her wedding. Meghan arrived at the famous Cliveden House Hotel with her mother, Doria Ragland, to make final preparations for her big day.Embed from Getty Images
Harry spent the night before the wedding at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park in Windsor after greeting the huge crowds already gathered in Windsor on a walkabout with his brother.Embed from Getty Images
The Wedding Day
Hours before the wedding, Prince Harry was granted the titles of the Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel. Meghan would assume “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex” upon marriage. She would also obtain the titles of the Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel.
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First to arrive at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, were the 1,200 members of the public invited by Harry and Meghan in thanks for “their work supporting their communities.” They were given prize spots outside the ancient church so they would be the first to see the happy couple.
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The 600 guests invited to attend the ceremony started to arrive by bus and entered through the chapel’s South Door. Guests included Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, and the cast of Meghan’s former TV show, Suits.
Members of the Royal Family began to arrive either by car or on foot. They entered the chapel through the Galilee Porch.Embed from Getty Images
At this time, Princes Harry and William greeted the 200 guests from Harry’s charities in the Horseshoe Cloister at the bottom of the West Steps. Around the same time, Meghan and her mother left the Cliveden House Hotel. Driving to Windsor Castle through the Long Walk, the car dropped off Doria who took her seat ready for the arrival of her daughter.
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Prince Harry and Prince William entered the chapel.
Meghan arrived at the Chapel’s West Steps and began her walk down the aisle.Embed from Getty Images
As she approached the altar, the Prince of Wales joined Meghan for the final part of the bridal procession. Meghan wore a dress designed by the British designer Clare Waight Keller, under the aegis of the fashion house Givenchy. Her silk veil, which was 16 feet long, was embroidered with 55 flowers, representing the 53 countries of the Commonwealth. The veil was also embroidered with the Wintersweet, which grows in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California poppy, the state flower of California.Embed from Getty Images
Meghan wore a diamond bandeau tiara made in 1932 for Queen Mary. The centre brooch was a wedding gift from the County of Lincoln in 1893.
The ceremony began, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.Embed from Getty Images
The sermon was given by Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The hymns included ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’, a favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Kingdom Choir sang ‘Stand By Me’.Embed from Getty Images
Meghan’s ring, like those of many other Windsor brides, was made of Welsh gold.
The ceremony ended and the newlyweds made their way to the West Steps of the Chapel where they shared a kiss. They then began a carriage procession through Windsor.Embed from Getty Images
The congregation followed as they made their way to St George’s Hall for a lunchtime reception hosted by The Queen.
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The carriage procession, in the Ascot Landau Carriage, took the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex through the huge crowds that had gathered in Windsor to celebrate with them.Embed from Getty Images
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The newlyweds attended an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by Prince Charles. Heading to the reception, the couple drove in an icy blue vintage Jaguar. Meghan opted for a second gown, designed by Stella McCartney and wore an aquamarine ring that once belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales presented to her by her new husband.Embed from Getty Images
The couple did not leave for their honeymoon the day after their marriage due to scheduled public engagements. The location of the honeymoon was kept secret although it was reported the couple headed to Africa.
The Royal Family announced that they would pay for the wedding with overall costs put at around £32 million. The cake, florist, and catering are estimated to be about £50,000, £110,000, and £286,000.
In comparison to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, security costs were said to have been much lower for the wedding. It’s estimated security costs were somewhere between £2 and £4 million.Embed from Getty Images
In place of wedding gifts, the couple asked for donations to be made to one of seven charitable organisations instead: CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis, The Myna Mahila Foundation, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, StreetGames, Surfers Against Sewage, and The Wilderness Foundation UK. The couple had no formal association with any of the organisations.
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Nearly a year later, on 6 March 2019, Harry and Meghan would welcome their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who is currently seventh in line to the throne.
In January of 2020, the couple announced that they would be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family. The transition went into effect on 31 March.