Next Saturday, all eyes will be on St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, England, where Prince Harry will marry former Suits actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony attended by 600 very lucky guests. Many millions more will be watching on TV (nearly 22 million Americans tuned into the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton), and the online coverage is sure to be joyous, jubilant, and just about impossible to ignore.
If you’re in the U.S., you can enjoy coverage of the couple’s big day on BBC AMERICA.
Ahead of the historic wedding, which looks to be the royal family’s most modern-leaning and overtly sustainably-sourced of all time, here’s a handy primer on the influencial women tasked with key roles in proceedings.
Lady Jane Fellowes
Lady Fellowes, older sister of the late Princess Diana, will give a reading at the ceremony; it’s an elegant way of ensuring the groom’s maternal bloodline has a strong presence on the day. “Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honored that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day,” a statement from Prince Harry’s secretary confirmed earlier this month.
The happy couple have asked this renowned London florist, who has a flower shop in the famous Selfridges Food Hall, to fill St George’s Chapel with glorious floral decorations. “Working with them has been an absolute pleasure. The process has been highly collaborative, free-flowing, creative and fun,” Craddock said recently. “The final designs will represent them as a couple, which I always aim to achieve in my work, with local sourcing, seasonality and sustainability being at the forefront.”
As the groom’s grandmother and Royal family matriarch, Her Majesty will obviously take pride of place at the ceremony. But she’ll also formally host the subsequent lunchtime reception at St. George’s Hall inside Windsor Castle, where she’ll welcome the same 600 guests who attended the ceremony.
Two months ago, as per Royal Protocol, the Queen issued a declaration consenting “to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle.” As fans will know, the Royal family definitely don’t believe in cutting corners.
Gibson is founder, director, and conductor of south-east England’s Kingdom Choir, who’ve been asked to sing at Saturday’s ceremony. This award-winning gospel choir has previously sung with Elton John and performed in front of the late Nelson Mandela, so they won’t be fazed on the big day. “We are extremely excited to be taking part in such a historic moment, and know that it is one that we will always treasure,” Gibson said last month.
Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir are pleased and honoured to announce that they will be performing at the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle on May 19th. We are extremely excited to be taking part in such a historic moment, and know that it is one that we will always treasure. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish the couple all the very best for their coming union and thank them once again for their kind invitation. @thekingdomchoir #royalty #royalwedding #thekingdomchoir #gospel #gospelmusic #gospelchoir #lovemusicpower #karengibson #mskarengibson
The Spice Girls
Yes, really! Band member Mel B let slip in February that “us five Spice Girls” received invitations to the wedding, fueling rumors that the U.K. girl-group will be performing at the reception. Nothing’s been made official yet, but pop singer Ellie Goulding gave a performance at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s reception, so there’s definitely precedent for a contemporary musical presence at a Royal wedding.
The Royal family has yet to confirm who has designed Meghan Markle’s wedding dress, but we know it won’t be Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, who ruled herself out last month.
This California-born pastry chef and author runs the popular Violet Bakery in east London; she evidently impressed Meghan Markle when the actress interviewed her for her lifestyle website The Tig in 2015. “I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be chosen to make Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding cake,” Ptak said in March. “Knowing that they really share the same values as I do about food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and most importantly flavor, makes this the most exciting event to be a part of.”
As for the cake itself, it’s going to be a lemon elderflower sponge that will “incorporate the bright flavors of spring,” covered with buttercream, then decorated with fresh flowers. Frankly, it sounds delicious.
Markle’s mother, a social worker and yoga instructor from View Park–Windsor Hills, California, will accompany her daughter in the car to the wedding ceremony. Markle’s father, retired Emmy-winning lighting director Thomas Markle Sr., will then walk his daughter down the aisle. “Ms. Markle is delighted to have her parents by her side on this important and happy occasion,” Kensington Palace said in a statement earlier this month.
BBC AMERICA will air the Royal wedding of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle as a live and direct simulcast of BBC ONE’s coverage on May 19. Find out more about our coverage here.