The Royal Wedding, May 19th 2018

The engagement announcement

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, announced their engagement on November 27, 2017. On that day, they attended a photocall in the Sunken Gardens of Kensington Palace to show the engagement ring.

The engagement interview

In the evening, the BBC aired an interview with the couple and reporter Mishal Husain to talk about their engagement and their relationship. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

• Prince Harry proposed while they were roasting a chicked at Nottingham Cottage, their official residence.
• He designed the ring himself: the main stone is from Botswana, the other two are from his mother’s personal collection.
• They were introduced by a mutual friend, and they managed to keep their relationship private for 6 months.
• They got on so well they had back-to-back dates.
• They knew right away they wanted to commit to their relationship, as it was a long-distance one for more than a year.
• They addressed the statement Harry had to release following the harassement and racism Meghan and her mother faced.
• Meghan explained that, to her, ending her career is more the beginning of a new chapter, and she looked forward to exploring the UK.
• Meghan has met some of Harry’s family members on both sides.
• Her Majesty’s corgis liked Meghan right away when she met them.
• Prince Harry believes his late mother Diana would have loved Meghan, and they would have been ‘thick as thieves’.

Engagement portraits

Their official engagements portraits were released in mid-December. The photos were taken by photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who is also a Polish Prince, at Frogmore House. We have two rather formal photos and a relaxed one.
Following the release of the photos, Alexi Lubomirski commented on the opportunity he got to photograph Harry and Meghan:

It was an incredible honor to be asked to document this wonderful event, but also a great privilege to be invited to share and be a witness to this young couple’s love for one another. I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together

The Royal Wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married on Saturday, May 19th 2018 in Windsor Castle. The Duke of Cambridge was Prince Harry’s best man. Meghan decided not to have a maid of honor, as she couldn’t choose between her closest friends. Meghan and her mother spent the night before the wedding at Cliveden House Hotel. Rehearsals for the wedding occured on May 17 and May 18. It involved the couple as well as the military processions.

The designer of Meghan’s wedding dress was reveiled to be British-born Clare Waight-Keller who works for the French house Givenchy. Here are some details on the dress:
• The Design
True to the heritage of the house, the pure lines of the dress are achieved using six meticulously placed seams. The focus of the dress is the graphic open bateau neckline that gracefully frames the shoulders and emphasises the slender sculpted waist. The lines of the dress extend towards the back where the train flows in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza. The slim three-quarter sleeves add a note of refined modernity.

• The Fabric
Following extensive research by Ms. Waight Keller in fabric mills throughout Europe, an exclusive double bonded silk cady was developed. Perfect for the round sculptural look required, the silk cady has a soft matt lustre whilst the bonding process and pure white colour chosen by Ms. Markle and Ms. Waight Keller bring a fresh modernity to the dress.

• The Veil
Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition.

The Commonwealth family of nations – of which Her Majesty The Queen is Head –will be a central part of Prince Harry’s and Ms. Markle’s official work following His Royal Highness’s appointment as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Ms. Markle wanted to express her gratitude for the opportunity to support the work of the Commonwealth by incorporating references to its members into the design of her wedding dress.

Significant time was spent researching the flora of each Commonwealth country and much care was taken by Ms. Waight Keller to ensure that every flower is unique.

The veil is five meters long and made from silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza.

Each flower was worked flat, in three dimensions to create a unique and delicate design. The workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every thirty minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine.

In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Ms. Markle also selected two personal favourites:

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace in front of Nottingham Cottage, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the State flower from Ms. Markle’s place of birth, California.

Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are delicately embroidered and blend into the flora, to symbolise love and charity.

The Tiara: Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau
The veil is held in place by Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, lent to Ms. Markle by The Queen. The diamond bandeau is English and was made in 1932, with the centre brooch dating from 1893.

The bandeau, which is made of diamonds and platinum, is formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds. The centre is set with a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds.

The diamond bandeau was made for Queen Mary and specifically designed to accommodate the centre brooch. This brooch was given as a present to the then Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York. The bandeau and the brooch were bequeathed by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953.

The Bride’s Bouquet

Prince Harry handpicked several flowers yesterday from their private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bespoke bridal bouquet designed by florist Philippa Craddock.

The spring blooms include Forget-Me-Nots which were Diana, Princess of Wales’ favourite flower. The couple specifically chose them to be included in Ms. Markle’s bouquet to honour the memory of the late Princess on this special day.

The Bride’s bouquet is a petite design, pulled together in a gentle, ethereal, relaxed style with delicate blooms also including scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia, and sprigs of myrtle, all bound with a naturally dyed, raw silk ribbon.

The myrtle sprigs are from stems planted at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.

The tradition of carrying myrtle begun after Queen Victoria was given a nosegay containing myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to Gotha in Germany. In the same year, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Osborne House as a family retreat, and a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls, where it continues to thrive today.

The myrtle was first carried by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, when she married in 1858.

Some facts on the wedding

• The Wedding was held on May 19th, 2018 at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
• 600 guests were invited to the religious ceremony as well as the reception at St. George’s Hall hosted by The Queen.
• 200 guests were invited to the evening reception hosted by The Prince of Wales.
• The couple had 6 bridesmaids and 4 pageboys (including Prince Geroge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
• 2.640 people were invited to watch the ceremony outside St. George’s Chapel, including children, charity members, community members and members of the public nominated by Lord Lieutenants.
• There were are 100.000 people in Windsor on that day.
• The only member of Meghan’s family to attend the wedding was her mother Doria Ragland.
• Meghan’s veil was 5 meters long and the flowers of all 53 Commonwealth countries were represented.
• Meghan walked half of the aisle on her own before being joined by The Prince of Wales.
• The couple took part in a carriage procession in Windsor following the wedding, which lasted 25 minutes.
• The wedding cake was made by Claire Ptak of Violet Cakes, it was a lemon elderflower cake instead of a traditional fruit cake .
• Following the wedding, the flowers were donated to hospice patients.

Royal Wedding Portraits
Following the wedding, the couple and their family had their portrait taken in the Green Drawing Room of Windsor Castle. The photos were taken by Alexi Lubomirski, who also photographed the couple following their engagement. As Meghan’s mother was the only attendant in her family, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as their children were placed on the bride’s side. The newlyweds also posed with their bridesmaids and pageboys.

“Everything was like clockwork,” according to Lubomirski, and “it was just one of the those magical moments, when you are a photographer and everything falls into place.” After shooting a few photos in the garden, Lubomirski asked Harry and Meghan to pose on the staircase before sending them on their way.

“I said finally, ‘Okay, let’s go back. You can go back to your thing now, but listen, just before you go in, let’s sit down on these stairs,'” he said. “And she just slumped in between his legs, and there was this moment where they were just laughing because they were joking about how they were exhausted and finally it’s all over. And they just looked at each other and they were just laughing, and it was this just beautiful moment.”