On Saturday, May 19th at 12 PM GMT (7 AM EST), Prince Harry and former American actress, Rachel Meghan Markle, tied the knot.
First things first, the dress. Elegant. Gracious. Simple. Timeless. “The Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress has been designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller, who last year became the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy. Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition,” reports Kensington Palace.
“The Duchess and Ms. Waight Keller worked closely together on the design, which epitomizes a timeless minimal elegance referencing codes of the iconic House of Givenchy,” the Kensington Palace shared on Instagram with the sketches of the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress.
However, as the philanthropic couple exchanged vows, they not only wed, but also made history. The confident and independent woman that Meghan has always been and the rebel that Prince Harry has been known to be, the two decided to break some royal traditions (with permission of the Queen) and start new ones.
The first tradition broken regarded the guest lists: no heads of state were invited to ensure the closest and most important people to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were allowed to attend the intimate ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. Unlike most royal weddings, this guest list brought together American actors and actresses, influential people in charity and sport, and members of the royal family turning it into one of the most modern royal weddings for its time.
Secondly, amid all of the unpleasant scandal surrounding the Duchess of Sussex’s father, Thomas Markle, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, joined the Duchess halfway through her procession down the Nave in St. George’s Chapel, which shows the Monarchy’s warm welcome of Ms. Markle into the royal family.
The Duchess of Sussex said “I do” with a traditional yellow gold wedding band. It was made from Welsh gold gifted by the Queen, made by Cleave and Company, and carried to the wedding by Prince Harry’s best man, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. The happy couple did decide to follow tradition regarding Meghan’s wedding ring as the tradition holds a long list of royals who wear wedding bands made of Welsh gold.
The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles all followed the tradition, which began in 1923. Although, the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, decided to break tradition as he said “I do” with a platinum textured wedding band, according to US Weekly.
The Duchess of Sussex’s tiara was simply shining and glistening in the UK’s daylight as the couple stepped outside on to the steps of St. George’s Chapel.
The headpiece was identified as Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara by Kensington Palace. The traditional tiara was made in 1932, but the center brooch is from 1893. Made of diamonds and platinum, in eleven sections with interlaced ovals, the centerpiece is detachable, but the rest of the tiara was specifically made for that center brooch. It was lent to Ms. Markle by the Queen as she was given the tiara in 1953.
One of the sweetest traditions created by the Duke of Sussex had to be his hand-picking of the Forget-Me-Not flowers, Princess Diana’s favorite, from their garden to be included in the Duchess of Sussex’s bouquet in memory of his mother.
Another tradition is the first public kiss as a married couple, which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wasted no time on as they kissed on the steps of St. George’s Chapel right outside where their wedding ceremony took place as “This Little Light of Mine” played in the background. They then waved to the public, which Prince Harry wanted just outside the castle to make us feel like we were apart of their special day, and then hopped in their carriage, led by a traveling Escort of the Household Calvary Mounted Regiment, for their procession through Windsor Town before being taken back to Kensington Palace for their tea hosted by the Queen and night-time reception hosted by Prince Charles at the Frogmore House.
According to Kensington Palace, “The Household Cavalry are among several Armed Forces personnel with a special relationship with The Duke providing ceremonial support at the wedding and carriage procession.”
Once arriving at the Reception, Ms. Markle had quite a wardrobe change. The Duchess of Sussex looked stunning in a silk gown designed by Stella McCartney. The accessories included satin Aquazurra pumps featuring baby blue soles for a little “something blue.”
Yes, the Duchess of Sussex made sure to follow the traditional something old, something borrowed and something blue. However, she worked these all into one for the Reception at the Frogmore House with a stunning aquamarine cocktail ring by Asprey that belonged to Princess Diana. Ms. Markle’s extra-long train and veil were thought to be a reference to the legendary ones Princess Diana wore at her own wedding; as well as, her post-ceremony gown, which featured a sexy silhouette more daring than royal tradition, evoking her late mother-in-law’s daring styles.
According to Vanity Fair, there has been some speculation that the ring is not something borrowed as it may have been a gift from Prince Harry to his wife. Princess Diana left all of her jewelry to her sons in her will, but Ms. Markle clearly opted not to wear any of the pieces until the two were officially married.
The ring was spotted on the Duchess of Sussex’s hand as she and Prince Harry left Windsor Castle in a vintage silver blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero. “The vehicle was originally manufactured in 1968, and has since been converted to electric power,” reports Kensington Palace.
The sleeveless high-neck silhouette seemed to look a lot more comfortable for celebrating compared to the custom Givenchy gown worn for the ceremony and most importantly, the Royal Wedding family photos taken by photographer, Alexi Lubomirski, in the Green Drawing Room of Windsor Castle.
And let’s not forget the Royal Wedding cake. The wedding cake, which was served at the Reception, was designed by Claire Ptak and featured elderflower syrup made at the Queen’s residence in Sandringham from the estate’s own elderflower trees, as well as a light sponge cake uniquely formulated for the couple.
Now until we all find someone who looks at us the way Prince Harry looked at Ms. Markle during the performance of “Stand By Me,” during their wedding ceremony… let’s cheers to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Royal Family, and the babies we can’t wait for!