MERRY WIFE OF WINDSOR: Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle will tie the knot in May at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, the royal residence located just outside London in leafy Berkshire.
Kensington Palace said it was Queen Elizabeth II who granted permission for the wedding to take place at the chapel, and the palace also confirmed that the royal family will foot the bill.
The choice of venue is the first sign that Harry and Meghan want to do things differently: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in grandeur at Westminster Abbey in London, while Prince Charles married Princess Diana in the grand St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London. He did, however, marry Camilla Parker Bowles at Windsor.
The choice of the chapel at Windsor means the couple is hoping for a more low-key affair away from the London crowds and amid acres of verdant countryside. Prince Harry is a regular polo player at Guards Polo Club at Windsor Great Park.
The wedding will be different in other ways, too. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married, Kate’s multimillionaire parents contributed to the affair and her sister Pippa Middleton — then a professional party planner — organized the evening’s festivities at Buckingham Palace.
Kensington Palace added that before the wedding, Markle plans to be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England. The American-born bride also plans to become a British citizen.
While all date and venue bets are now off, wedding dress bets are very much on.
According to Betfair, one of the largest international online sports betting providers, top contenders include Alexander McQueen, Roland Mouret, the Canadian designer Mikhael Kale, Burberry, Emilia Wickstead, Christopher Kane, Greta Constantine and one of Markle’s longtime fashion favorites, Erdem.
There are those who think that McQueen and Giles Deacon, who’s not on Betfair’s shortlist, may be nonstarters since they did the Middleton sisters’ wedding dresses.
“I think she’ll eschew the likes of Alexander McQueen and Giles Deacon for fear of comparisons,” said Stewart Parvin, the London couturier and royal warrant holder who designs for Queen Elizabeth and who created Zara Phillips’ wedding gown in 2011.
Parvin reckons that “something like the understated chic of the Duchess of Cornwall’s favorite, Anna Valentine, could be eminently suitable.” Valentine created the dove-gray silk gown that the duchess wore for her wedding to Prince Charles. On the day, she paired it with a feathery gold headpiece by Philip Treacy.
As the wedding plans shift into high gear, the betrothed have wasted no time in getting down to other business. Kensington Palace confirmed on Tuesday that Harry and Meghan will undertake their first royal engagement together in Nottingham, England this Friday.
The couple will pay a visit to a Terrence Higgins Trust charity fair where they will meet representatives from organizations that help people living with HIV/AIDS. They will also visit Nottingham Academy and speak to staff who are helping to support vulnerable teens and steer them away from violence and crime.