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The Royal Wedding

Catherine Kowal-Safron, Staff Writer

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On May 19th, 2018 at 7 a.m. ET almost 2 billion people worldwide tuned in either via television or in person to watch Prince Harry (sixth in line to the British throne) and Meghan Markle get married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in England. Of those 2 billion people, approximately 29.2 million came from the United States. Arguably one of the most important and popular weddings in all of history, it was not only a beautiful ceremony and event (and an expensive one, totaling up a cost of $40 million) but it also made history. This marriage was not very important due to Prince Harry being in line to inherit the throne, but more due to the bride, Meghan Markle’s, background. The 36-year-old former actress in the USA TV series Suits is the first American to marry a member of the British Royal Family. Additionally, her personal background is quite significant. Not only is Meghan the first biracial woman to enter the royal family, but she also came from a family of both divorce and Catholicism, which is interesting because most people who join the Royal Family grew up in the Church of England (Meghan Markle was required to get baptized in the Church of England before she could marry Prince Harry).

Although the wedding seemed to have gone perfectly, it was not without its tensions prior to the big day, specifically with Meghan’s father Thomas Markle. Thomas Markle, who has a background in cinematography, was originally supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle on the big day. However, after it was discovered that he staged paparazzi photos of him trying on suits, reading about British royal history, and looking at the engagement photos of Prince Harry and Meghan in a coffee shop, he announced that he would not be attending the wedding as he did not want to embarrass Meghan or the royal family. Only a few days after this, Thomas Markle made another announcement: he would in fact be attending the wedding as he wanted to walk Meghan down the aisle and did not want to miss this moment in history. Unfortunately. this did not happen, as only a few days prior to May 19th Thomas had a heart attack and was required to undergo surgery. It was then that Meghan Markle made a statement saying that her father would not be coming and that she hoped he could focus on his health. This announcement was followed by much speculation regarding who would walk Meghan down the aisle. Many believed that perhaps her mother, yoga instructor Doria Ragland, would do the honors. Others favored members of the royal family such as Prince Charles or Prince Philip. Some even believed that Meghan would walk herself down the aisle. After much debate around the world, on May 18th it was announced that Prince Charles would be accompanying her down the aisle to welcome her to the royal family.

It is safe to say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had one of the cutest wedding parties of all time. Unlike American weddings in which bridesmaids and groomsmen (page boys in the UK) tend to be older, in the UK, attendees of the wedding party tend to be young, as ages ranged from 2 to 7. There were ten members of the party in total with four page boys and six bridesmaids. The page boys included Prince George (4), the son and eldest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Jasper Dyer (6), the godson of Prince Harry, and twins Brian (7) and John Mulroney (7), the sons of Meghan’s best friend Jessica Mulroney. The page boys definitely stole the show—especially Brian and John Mulroney, who both accompanied Meghan to Windsor Castle and carried her sixteen foot train down the aisle. The bridesmaids were Princess Charlotte (3), the daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Zalie Warren (2), the goddaughter of Prince Harry, Florence van Cutsem (3), the goddaughter of Prince Harry, sisters Rylan Litt (7) and Remi Litt (6), the goddaughters of Meghan Markle, and Ivy Mulroney (6), the daughter of Meghan’s best friend Jessica Mulroney. The bridesmaids also stole the show—especially Princess Charlotte, who dramatically waved to the crowds at the end of the ceremony when Prince Harry and Meghan began their carriage procession through Windsor. Prince Harry’s best man was Prince William. The bride however did not have a maid of honor as she reportedly said that she had so many friends and she did not want to choose between them.

Another reason why the wedding itself was so unique and therefore popular was its combination of both American and British elements. This applied to even the simple things such as the wedding invitations, which were printed on British paper but with American ink. Other aspects of the unique wedding included an Episcopal Bishop who gave a sermon and the Archbishop of Canterbury. American elements were also seen in the choice of music. For example, the song “Stand By Me” was sung by a black choir during the ceremony, which is atypical in the Anglican Church. However, British elements were snuck in as well; at the end of the ceremony everyone sang “God Save the Queen,” the British National Anthem. Perhaps the most interesting British aspect of the wedding was that Prince Harry and Meghan did not immediately kiss at the end of the ceremony. Instead, they did so on the steps outside of Windsor Castle a few minutes after the ceremony ended. This is because the Church of England forbids couples to kiss in churches, thus requiring them to share their first kiss as a married couple outside.

After watching their marriage at such an elegant ceremony, many wonder what is up next for the newly formed Duke and Duchess of Sussex. When will they make appearances together? Where will they go on their honeymoon? Well, on Tuesday May 22, they made their first engagement as a married couple at Kensington Gardens in celebration of Prince Charles’s 70th birthday. As for the honeymoon part, both Prince Harry and Meghan have decided to delay it for awhile and instead go on some royal engagements. Although it has not been announced where the honeymoon location will be, top favorites include Botswana and the Caribbean. Wishing many years of happiness to the new couple!

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