Titles! Traditions! Hats!
Perhaps you hadn’t heard, but there’s a wedding taking place in England on Saturday. (Something about a prince marrying an American.) Even if you’ve been unable to ignore this exhaustively discussed news, you might be feeling a lit- tle confused about what exactly it entails, since you most likely have never had a royal wedding yourself. So much protocol and tradition! So many hats! So much room for misunderstanding! We’ve got you. We aren’t married to a royal, either, but we did look into many issues that
can arise in such a situation.
So, who did you say is getting married?
Rachel Meghan Markle, a.k.a. Meghan Markle, an American actress best known for playing Rachel Zane in the long-
But why? Nobility nuptials can be so confusing for the rest of us.
running legal-intrigue drama Suits, is marrying Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, a.k.a. Prince Harry, a British aristocrat best known for being a son of Prince Charles.
Saturday. The ceremony is scheduled for noon local time (7 a.m. Eastern time) and will last about an hour, whereupon the couple will take a carriage ride through town.
And where is it?
St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Is that near Buckingham Palace?
Nope. Buckingham Palace is in London. Windsor Castle is in Windsor, a picturesque old town some 20 miles west of London.
Why should I care about this wedding?
Because Harry, being uncon- strained by the responsibilities that burden William, the future king, has recovered from some earlier lapses in judgment to bring a joyously improvisational approach to his royal life. And because Meghan is so different from most royal brides-tobe: She is American, biracial (her mother is African-American, and her father is white), divorced and 36, which makes her three years older than her Harry.
How significant is the fact that Meghan is biracial?
People of color are underrepresented in British politics and not represented at all in the royal family.
Who plans a royal wedding?
The couple have made it clear that they are responsible for much of the overall tone of the day. That said, the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, the department of Buckingham Palace responsible for all public events, state visits, palace garden parties and the like, will oversee all the necessary logistical and ceremonial details.
Does Queen Elizabeth approve?
Anyone who is sixth or under in line to the throne needs the queen’s permission to get married, and Harry is sixth after Charles, William and William’s kids, George, Charlotte and now Louis. In March, she formally approved the marriage of “My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle.”
Okay, so tell me about Meghan’s engagement ring.
The ring was designed by Harry himself and is composed of a large central diamond from Botswana and some smaller diamonds that belonged to his late mother, Diana, princess of Wales.
Who will design Meghan’s wedding dress?
That’s the million-pound question. The current favorite, at least according to the gossipy fashion industry, is the brand Ralph & Russo. Meghan chose a dress made by the London couture house for her official engagement portraits, and the brand is known for its over-the-top wedding dresses.
Will there be cake?
But of course. British weddings usually feature fruitcakes. However, throwing aside this strange and perverse custom, the couple have decided to serve organic lemon elderflower cake that will be covered in buttercream icing and fresh flowers.
Who is Harry’s best man?
William. And Harry was William’s best man.
Will Meghan have a maid of honor?
No. But there will be page boys and “bridesmaids,” which in this case refers to young girls, not grown women. Royal weddings rarely feature adult bridesmaids, and when Pippa Middleton fulfilled the role of maid of honor at Kate and William’s wedding, it was more of an exception than a rule.
Who is paying for all of this, anyway?
The royal family is paying for the wedding itself — the service, the flowers, the music and the reception. Meghan will pay for her dress. The British public will pay for security. William and Kate’s wedding reportedly cost $34 million, of which $32 million went to security. Is Meghan giving up her career as an actress?
Yes. “I don’t see it as giving anything up,” she said. “I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter.”
Do Harry and Meghan want kids?
Sounds like it. In their post-engagement interview with the BBC, Harry said, “Of course, one step at a time and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future.”
Would those kids be in line for the throne?
Yes. Any children born to Harry will bump his uncle Andrew — Charles’ brother, currently seventh in line for the throne, after Harry — further down the order of succession.
Will the ceremony include any tributes to Princess Diana?
Yes. Diana’s sister Lady Jane Fellowes will perform a reading as part of the ceremony.
Will Meghan’s family attend?
Meghan said Thursday that her father will not be able to attend due to health problems. Thomas Markle had been scheduled to walk his daughter down the aisle. No replacement for him as been officially named but it’s possible that Doria Ragland, the bride’s mother, could fill that role instead.
Royalty fans wait Thursday to watch a rehearsal of the royal wedding in Windsor, England.