On this day, Prince Harry was created Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel, with Meghan taking on the title of Duchess of Sussex.
HRH Prince Henry Charles Albert David was born on 15 September 1984, at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. Rachel Meghan Markle was born on 4 August 1981, in Los Angeles, California and is the daughter of Thomas Markle, a cinematographer and lighting director and Doria Ragland, a clinical therapist and yoga instructor. Previously married in 2011, Meghan divorced Trevor Engelson, a film and television producer in 2013.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were introduced by a mutual friend in June 2016, and their engagement was announced on 27 November 2017, having become engaged earlier in the month. Meghan is the second American and the first person of mixed-race heritage to marry into the British royal family.
As Harry was then fifth in line to the throne (he is now sixth, after the birth of Prince Louis in 2018), the Queen had to give her permission for the wedding, which was granted on 14 March 2018. In lieu of presents, Harry and Meghan asked for gifts to be given to any of the seven charities they both support, which help those within the UK and overseas.
Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was designed by Prince Harry with the help of Cleave and Company, court jewellers to The Queen. The gold band features a cushion diamond from Botswana and two outside stones from the personal collection of Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
British designer Clare Waight Keller made Meghan’s wedding dress. Made of a double bonded silk cady, the dress had three-quarter sleeves and an open bateau neckline. The lines of the dress extended towards the back where the train flowed in soft round folds.
The five-metre long veil was made from silk tulle with a trim of 53 hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza. The 53 flowers represented the 53 countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The bride’s veil was held in place by a tiara was loaned by Queen Elizabeth II. Made in 1932, the diamonds and platinum tiara has a detachable brooch of ten brilliant diamonds set in the centre.
The bride’s bouquet was delicate, including scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia, and sprigs of myrtle, the latter of which is a royal family dating back to the early years of the twentieth century. The bouquet also included forget-me-nots, the favourite flower of Diana, Princess of Wales as well as blooms handpicked by Harry from the couple’s private garden.
Cleave and Company were chosen to make the wedding rings. Meghan’s ring was made from a piece of Welsh gold, given by Her Majesty the Queen. Prince Harry’s ring was a platinum band with a textured finish. The rings were carried to St. George’s Chapel on the day of the wedding by The Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as best man.
The Wedding Attendants
Meghan chose not to have a maid of honour. Harry’s best man was his brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
There were six bridesmaids, aged from two to seven, including Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. There were four page-boys including Prince George of Cambridge.
About 600 people were invited to the wedding service at St. George’s Chapel. The guests arrived at the Round Tower of Windsor Castle by bus and then walked to the South Door of St. George’s Chapel. Then, members of the royal family made their way from Windsor Castle either by foot or by car to St. George’s Chapel. Meghan and her mother Doria Ragland rode in a car to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk.
The ceremony began at noon, with Meghan, the bridesmaids and page boys walking down the aisle in the nave. The Prince of Wales accompanied her down the aisle of the Quire of St. George’s Chapel
The Dean of Windsor, David Conner conducted the service. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby officiated as the couple took their marriage vows. The third officiant was Michael Bruce Curry of The Episcopal Church in the United States, who gave a rousing address about the importance of love.
Harry and Meghan invited 2,640 members of the public into the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the arrival of the wedding party and the wedding guests at the chapel and to watch the carriage procession as it departed from the castle. These included those nominated by the nine regional Lord Lieutenant offices, 200 from charities in which Harry and Meghan have a close association, 100 from local schools and 610 from the local community and 530 members of the royal households and estates.
The Lunchtime Wedding Reception
A reception at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle followed the wedding ceremony. All 600 guests who attended the wedding service were invited to this reception, hosted by the Queen.
The wedding cake featured elderflower syrup made at the Queen’s Sandringham residence, from the estate’s own elderflower trees. The cake was decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers, mainly British and in season, including peonies and roses.
The reception included the cutting of the wedding cake and speeches from The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry. Sir Elton John provided some of the entertainment, performing Tiny Dancer, which he dedicated to the bride, Your Song and The Circle of Life.
The Evening Wedding Reception
About 200 guests attended a private evening reception given by The Prince of Wales at Frogmore House. For this, Meghan wore a lily-white silk crepe evening dress with a high neck, designed by Stella McCartney. Prince William gave a speech, as did the married couple, making Meghan the first royal bride to give a speech.