BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT
As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare to marry this May, Chantal Borciani explores the historic palaces and secret gems of the royal boroughs they will call home.
As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prepare to marry this May, we explore the historic palaces and secret gems of the royal boroughs they will call home.
EVER SINCE PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE announced their engagement last November, wedding fever has been growing at a pace. Whether you’re planning to line the cobbled streets of Windsor to glimpse the happy couple on their big day or simply want to explore Meghan’s favourite London haunts, we have the perfect guide to get you embraced by the royal wedding spirit.
The royal borough of Windsor will be taking centre stage this May as the happy couple marry in St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. An easy 55-minute train from central London, Windsor is perfect for a historic day trip. Surrounded by the Horseshoe Cloisters and protected by the imposing Henry VIII gate, the chapel is located in the lower ward of Windsor Castle and construction started in 1475 by Edward IV and was completed under Henry VIII in 1528. The Queen spends most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle, which dates back more than 900 years and has been home to 39 monarchs. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it remains the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and is open to visitors all year round – though, of course, not on the day of the wedding. Tours of the castle include entry to the magnificent State Apartments and St George's Chapel where services and choral recitals are open to the public throughout the year.
On the waterfront
While the streets of Windsor will be abuzz with throngs of well wishers on the big day, the quaint market places of Windsor are a pleasure all year round. Those in the know head to the riverside to glimpse the best views of the ancient turrets of Windsor Castle. A variety of riverboats and steamers operate along this stretch of the River Thames with the cruises offering stunning views of Windsor Great Park, the castle and prestigious Eton College. Why not make a day of it and enjoy an afternoon tea or champagne tea on board?
Work off any indulgences with a walk through Green Park to Buckingham Palace and be sure not to miss the Royal Mews, which is home to the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages and is considered to be one of the finest working stables in existence. The Mews is responsible for all road travel arrangements for The Queen and members of the Royal Family and its display includes the Gold State Coach, which has been used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821, and The Diamond Jubilee State Coach For a pew and a pint, journey to The Sands End pub in Fulham, where Meghan and Harry enjoyed a cosy lunch. The pub is owned by Harry's friend Mark Dyer and serves high-end, classic English dishes. For Harry’s favourite dinner spot in the capital, the romantic Le Clos Maggiore restaurant near Covent Garden is pick of the crop. When the time comes to lay your head down there are a plethora of historic London hotels to pick from but for the ultimate royal wedding experience book in at The Goring. This small luxury hotel is where Kate Middleton stayed before her wedding to Prince William and is the oldest privately owned luxury hotel in London. Just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, you’ll be sure to sleep like royalty.
We hope you will also enjoy our Walk in the footsteps of Royalty feature (p38-45).