This Is What Will Happen the Night Before the Royal Wedding
Harry and Meghan's families are planning special celebrations
It's going to be a family affair, after all!
Now that's it's been confirmed that both Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, and her mother, Doria Ragland, will be attending the wedding, plans are in place for the two families to spend some time getting to know each other in the days leading up to the couple's May 19th wedding at St. George's Chapel at Windsor.
Both of Meghan's parents will be arriving in Britain the week before the wedding. It will be the first time Thomas will be meeting Harry, although he did speak to his daughter's fiancé when Harry called him to ask his permission to marry his daughter. The prince has already spent some time with Meghan's mother Doria, most notably at last year's Invictus Games in Toronto when the couple made their first public appearance together.
Earlier today, Kensington Palace answered one of the biggest questions about the wedding by confirming both of Meghan's parents will be there for the big day through this statement: "Both of the bride's parents will have important roles in the wedding. On the morning of the wedding, Ms. Ragland will travel with Ms. Markle by car to Windsor Castle. Mr. Markle will walk his daughter down the aisle of St George's Chapel. Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion," the palace announced.
The night before the wedding, Harry and Meghan plan to stick to tradition and have separate dinners with their families. On the eve of her 2011 wedding to Prince William, Kate Middleton stayed at the luxurious Goring Hotel in the Royal Suite with her family, but Meghan is likely going spend the night closer to Windsor.
"Harry and Meghan are planning lovely events for their families to celebrate together and then, the night before the wedding, Meghan is going to spend some quiet time with her mother and her father because it's been a long time since they've all been together," one royal insider told me. "She may have a dinner for a few very close friends as well, but wants to make sure she savors this special night with her parents."
Harry will be spending the evening with his father Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as well as his best man and brother Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip will likely host a dinner for their grandson at Windsor Castle. If the wedding had been a state affair, the Queen would have hosted visiting dignitaries at a formal affair.
"The Queen is very much looking forward to spending time as a family before wedding," said my source.
Although Windsor is an hour outside of London, Meghan could opt to stay on the grounds of Windsor Castle as Autumn Kelly did before her 2008 wedding to the Queen's grandson, Peter Phillips. She could also opt to stay at the Royal Lodge, the official home of the Prince Andrew, Duke of York, for her last night as a single woman. "Now that it has been confirmed that both Meghan's parents are attending, plans are underway to make sure Mr. Markle and Ms. Ragland will be well looked after in the days leading up to the wedding," said the royal insider.
It was announced Meghan will not have a traditional American-style bridal party—royal weddings usually have younger attendants who serve as page boys and bridesmaids. But Meghan will no doubt have her good friend and style guru Jessica Mulroney on hand the night before to help her with her wedding wardrobe. The palace confirmed Meghan will be continuing royal tradition by being accompanied by her young bridal party members. It is expected that Prince George and Princess Charlotte will play a role in the ceremony. The names of her page boys and bridesmaids will be released in the days before the wedding.
Royal watchers are hoping that Harry will follow in his brother's footsteps and come out and greet the crowds who will no doubt be out in force the night before at Windsor. The night before William got married at Westminster Abbey in London in 2011, he came out to thank the throng of well-wishers gathered outside Clarence House. The prince also only got an hour's sleep because of the noise on the Mall.
"Harry and Meghan spent so much time out meeting people during the engagement, they may want to wait until their wedding day to thank the crowds," said my source. "But then again, they have done so many things differently with the wedding, they may end up surprising us. Everyone is very excited about the wedding." And for more great royals coverage, don't miss these 30 Crazy Facts about Royal Marriages.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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