No one does pomp and circumstance like the Brits, and when it comes to royal weddings, they rule. I’m one of those people who set the alarm for 5am so I could get up and watch Lady Diana arrive at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a gold, horse-drawn carriage to marry Prince Charles. Ever since, I’ve made it my personal mission to know everything there is to know about the fascinating family at the center of the world’s longest running soap opera.
After two books and countless conversations with royal insiders (including Diana’s brother, Charles), I’ve gained plenty of insight on how things work within “The Firm.” Although they only just announced their engagement yesterday, plans for Harry and Meghan’s wedding are well under way. Here’s what we know so far. And for more royal engagement coverage, here are 10 Secrets the Palace Doesn’t Want Meghan Markle to Know.
1. They’ll get married in May.
The couple already announced they’d wed next spring which is always a busy time of year for the royals. April is out because that’s when William and Kate’s third child is due—and the couple celebrates their own wedding anniversary on the 29th of the month. By the time June rolls around it’s all champagne and strawberries for the royals whose calendars are jammed packed with social events like Royal Ascot, that swanky horse race where the men dress up like Mr. Peanut, The Trooping of the Color, the Queen’s annual birthday parade and, of course, Wimbledon. So, Harry and Meghan will get married in May.
2. It’s going to be a church wedding.
Sure, Meghan and Harry are “down to earth” people, but he’s a prince—for Pete’s sake! And what American woman worth her Jimmy Choos is going to pass up all the glamour of a history-making wedding in a beautiful cathedral? There will be no bohemian beachside wedding, folks. Harry and Meghan will be married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen “granted permission” for the wedding to take place there. It’s also where his father and stepmother, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall had their “prayer service and dedication” after their civil ceremony in 2005. Granny had to draw the line somewhere. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will likely preside over the nuptials.
3. There will be wall-to-wall celebrities.
The guest list could rival Vanity Fair’s Oscar party in terms of star power. In addition to family friends Elton John and David Beckham (Victoria could even be in the running to design Meghan’s dress) who also attended William and Kate’s wedding, there will likely be plenty of stars on hand including Meghan’s good friends Serena Williams and actress Priyanka Chopra as well as her “Suits” costars Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht.
4. The president will attend—just not the current one.
Harry’s close friendship with Barack Obama (who was among the first to tweet his congratulations) and Michelle Obama will undoubtedly mean the former first couple will be there. Donald Trump will most assuredly not be on the guest list.
5. It won’t be a “Bank Holiday.”
Downing Street has announced there are no plans to make Harry and Meghan’s wedding a special holiday as was done when William married Kate. That means the Brits won’t get a day off for the occasion, but I expect a widespread outbreak for some sort of nondescript ailment will keep record numbers of workers home in front of the telly that day.
6. Meghan won’t vow to “obey” Harry.
Kate didn’t pledge to do so and Meghan won’t either.
7. The maid of honor won’t upstage the bride.
Kate was either the most confident bride who ever lived or the most generous when she opted to allow her stunning sister, Pippa, to steal a piece of the limelight as she so memorably followed Kate down the aisle in that white, form fitting dress. Meghan’s matron of honor could be her best friend, Lindsay Roth, who she’s known since her freshmen year at Northwestern. She’s lovely—but she’s no Pippa.
8. The dress won’t scream “princess bride.”
Just because she’s living a fairytale, don’t expect Meghan to dress like a princess on her wedding day. Kate already did that perfectly in her Princess Grace-inspired Alexander McQueen gown. Meghan has said the favors “classic and simple” wedding dresses “with a modern twist.” In fact, the sleek gown by Narciso Rodriquez worn by Carolyn Bessette when she married John Kennedy, Jr. ranks as Meghan’s all-time favorite. So I expert her to go the diplomatic dressing route and pick something modern and feminine from either a British (Erdem, Emilia Wickstead) or American designer (Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang). She’ll need a dress that can fill a grand cathedral and makes a personal statement. Fashion independent Stella McCartney could be the perfect choice.
9. Ex-loves will not be in attendance.
Don’t look for Harry’s longtime ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy at the church. If we’d spent seven on-again, off-again years with the prince only to see him marry someone he’s known for sixteen months, we’d be curled up on the couch with a gallon of our favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s on the big day. Meghan’s ex-husband is too busy revenge writing a sitcom based on her life.
10. People will still be talking about Princess Diana
Seeing the still beloved People’s Princess’ youngest son marry a 36 year-old American career woman of mixed race who is also a feminist will inevitably evoke comments about how proud his mother would have been. The irony is chances are if the royals hadn’t learned the painful lessons of Diana’s death, Harry wouldn’t be marrying Meghan—and he knows that.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana: A Novel.
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