Ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first anniversary on May 19, we’re taking a look back at the highlights of their incredible royal wedding. See every incredible moment of the magical day below:
The Engagement and Wedding Rings
Shortly after Meghan and Harry announced their plans to marry on November 27, we got our first look at the custom diamond engagement ring Prince Harry used to propose. Harry designed the piece, which was then made by court jewelers Cleave and Company using one diamond sourced from Botswana and two smaller stones from Princess Diana’s collection.
“The ring is obviously yellow gold because that’s [Markle’s] favorite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana and the little diamonds on either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection, to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together,” Harry said during the couple’s first sit-down interview with the BBC.
During their wedding ceremony, the bride and groom exchanged rings made by Cleave and Company. Meghan’s ring was created out of Welsh Gold, and Harry’s ring is a platinum band, according to the Palace.
The Wedding Date and Time
The wedding took place on May 19, 2018. The ceremony began at 12 p.m. BST (7 a.m. ET), followed by a carriage procession through Windsor at 1 p.m. BST, (8 a.m. ET).
How to Watch the Wedding
Harry and Meghan’s wedding was televised and live streamed around the world. If you missed it, you can watch the livestream from the Royal Family’s official YouTube account here:
Permission to Marry
On March 15, the Queen gave her formal blessing to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage. “My Lords, I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle, which Consent I am causing to be signified under the Great Seal and to be entered in the Books of the Privy Council,” reads her official consent.
According to the Successions to the Crown Act, the first six in line to the throne need the monarch’s authorization (Harry is currently fifth in line).
The formal wedding invitations were mailed out in late March. Get your first look at the cards below, then head here for all the details.
Meghan and Harry’s gorgeous wedding ceremony took place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. After walking down the aisle with her bridesmaids, page boys, and later Prince Charle, Meghan met her groom at the altar of St. George’s Chapel. The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry delivered a rousing sermon during the ceremony, and the bride and groom said their vows and exchanged rings.
Meghan and Harry could have been married in Westminster Abbey had they decided to. A spokesman for the Abbey confirmed that their marriage could take place in one of the world’s most famous churches thanks to a recent ruling by the Church of England. “The Abbey follows the General Synod Ruling of 2002,” the spokesperson said. “Since then it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England.”
Many members of the British royal family, including Prince Edward, have been married at the chapel. “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are delighted that the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle will be where they begin their lives together as a married couple,” it reads.
A Carriage Ride Through Windsor
Immediately following the exchange of vows, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took a carriage ride through Windsor. The route went go along High Street through town before returning back via the Long Walk. See all of the gorgeous photos from their carriage ride here.
The royal family gathered on the steps of St. George’s Chapel to wave Harry and Meghan off on their procession. That’s where the royal couple shared their first kiss.
The Role of Harry and Meghan’s Families
Harry and Meghan previously revealed their desire to include their families in the wedding ceremony and reception. In late April, the Palace shared that Prince Harry chose Prince William to serve as his best man, a break in royal tradition. William was “honoured to have been asked” by his brother. On May 4, the Palace revealed that on the wedding morning, Prince Harry and his best man, Prince William, will arrive at the ceremony by walking. Will and Harry will also greet the royals fans on the Castle grounds ahead of the ceremony.
Harry and Meghan also paid tribute to Princess Diana on their wedding day. The Palace revealed that all three of Diana’s siblings, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Baroness Jane Fellowes, and Earl Spencer would attend the wedding. Additionally, Jane Fellows gave a reading at the wedding.
On the wedding day, Meghan traveled to the Castle in a car through the procession route with her mother Doria Ragland by her side.
Meghan was then joined by her Bridesmaids and Page Boys before arriving at St. George’s Chapel. She walked through the first portion of the aisle on her own, and then met Prince Charles for the remainder of the walk. Meghan asked Prince Charles to accompany her down the aisle after her father, Thomas announced he would not attend the wedding this week. Markle Sr. shared with TMZ that he is recovering from heart surgery.
The Wedding Dress
Meghan’s stunning wedding dress was designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. Here’s everything we know about her dress. The designer also created Meghan’s shoes for the big day. And, royal fans were treated to Meghan’s first royal tiara moment: the bride wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara for her wedding day look.
Meghan also had a second ensemble on her wedding day, just as Duchess Kate did back in 2011. The public got a glimpse of her gorgeous Stella McCartney dress when Harry and Meghan departed Windsor Castle for their evening reception at Frogmore House.
Like many details of Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding, the bouquet included a personal touch. The all white arrangement featured flowers picked by Prince Harry himself before the wedding. Blooms in the bouquet included Forget-Me-Nots, which were Princess Diana’s favorite flower, sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia. Like all royal wedding bouquets, it included a sprig of myrtle, which dates back to the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria. Myrtle symbolizes hope and love, making it a fitting addition to any bride’s bouquet, royal or not.
Bridesmaids and Page Boys
Meghan chose 10 bridal attendants to serve in her wedding party, including her newly-minted niece and nephew, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Find out who else was a page boy and a royal bridesmaid on the big day.
In terms of a reception Meghan and Harry’s nuptials were not a repeat of what we’ve recently seen from the royal family.
After their Westminster Abbey ceremony, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge greeted the thousands of well-wishers who waited to see catch a glimpse of the carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace, where the Queen hosted a lunch for 650 guests. They later enjoyed an evening reception for their most trusted friends and family inside the Palace.
Meghan and Harry’s first reception took place at St. George’s Hall, a state room within Windsor Castle. Approximately 600 guests were invited to the ceremony and then lunch, which was hosted by the Queen. On May 4, the Palace revealed after the Carriage Procession begins, all guests will walk from the Chapel to the reception at St. George’s Hall, and that all guests invited to the ceremony will also attend the reception.
The final public element of Harry and Meghan’s wedding day was the moment the newly married couple leaves Windsor Castle for Frogmore House, where their evening reception took place. Around 200 guests were invited to this reception, which was hosted by the Prince of Wales.
Royal wedding cakes are typically fruit cakes, but Meghan and Harry bucked tradition, and had a lemon elderflower cake created by Claire Ptak. Get the scoop on the royal wedding cake here.
Who Foots the Bill?
Tradition may suggest the bride’s family pay for the wedding expenses, but the royals picked up the tab for Meghan and Harry’s celebration. “As was the case with the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Family will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards” reads a statement from Kensington Palace.
What Will Meghan’s Last Name Be?
Now that Meghan Markle has officially married Prince Harry,. “Junior members of the royal family have the option of using the surname ,” royal historian and author Carolyn Harris tells Town & Country. But royals rarely use their surnames. More on that, here.
Additionally, Harry and Meghan received a new title from the Queen on their wedding day: Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Although Meghan now holds the rank of princess, she won’t be known as Princess Meghan. According to the customs of British peerage, a woman takes the title of her husband, meaning Meghan would become HRH Princess Henry of Wales, but she’s not a British “blood” princess, so calling her Princess Meghan would be incorrect. More on that, here.
With around 1,900 guests invited to the Westminster Abbey service and a global television audience estimated at two billion people, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding was a major production. Yet history shows that the weddings of second siblings in the royal family aren’t always understated either.
Both Princess Anne, the Queen’s second child, and her younger brother Prince Andrew got married in Westminster Abbey. Anne’s marriage to Mark Phillips in 1973 was declared a public holiday and both occasions attracted a global television audience of an estimated 500 million. The royals also followed the tradition of having a carriage procession after the ceremony, which is a chance for the newlyweds to wave to the crowds before they appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for the moment everyone is waiting for—the first public kiss.
But Harry will follow Prince Edward’s example of a more private wedding day. Edward was the only one of Charles’s siblings not to follow the pattern of previous royal weddings when he married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. Like Meghan and Harry, the couple chose to have the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor and according to the BBC, their reception St. George’s Hall was primarily for family and friends.