It will be a quick engagement for Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle.
The couple announced their engagement in November and will wed in May 2018. Read on for a look at what we know about the much-anticipated upcoming royal wedding.
When is the wedding?
Prince Harry — formally known as Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales — will marry Markle on May 19 in an hour-long ceremony starting at 7 a.m. EST, or noon local time.
The date is a Saturday — unusual, as most British royal weddings take place on a weekday.
Where is the wedding?
The wedding will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
“The Dean of Windsor will conduct the service and The Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate as the couple make their vows,” Kensington Palace announced on Feb. 11.
The wedding venue holds a central location in the history of the royal family. Windsor Castle, west of London, is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s main residences. The 15th-Century chapel is as historic but more intimate than Westminster Abbey, where Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011. The queen is also very involved in the College of St. George, according to its website.
When the engagement was announced, the palace said the wedding will “reflect [the couple’s] characters and personalities” and be a moment of “fun and joy.”
After the ceremony, the royal couple will undertake a carriage procession from St. George’s Chapel through Windsor Town and then return to Windsor Castle.
“They hope this short journey will provide an opportunity for more people to come together around Windsor and to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day,” the palace said.
Wedding guests will then meet the pair at for a reception at St. George’s Hall.
Harry’s father, Prince Charles, will hold a private reception later that evening for the newlyweds, with close friends and family members in attendance at an undisclosed location.
Prince Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, are “hugely grateful for the many good wishes they have received since announcing their engagement,” the palace added. “They are very much looking forward to the day and to being able to share their celebrations with the public.”
What needs to happen before the wedding?
The happy couple have already taken their engagement photos and shared some with the public.
Markle will be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England before the wedding, said a Kensington Palace spokesperson. She’s also undergoing the process of becoming a British citizen, the spokesperson said.
Who is expected to attend the event?
Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and other royals are expected to attend the wedding, along with Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland.
Additionally, a Dec. 26 report said that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle to attend their spring wedding. But the British government is reportedly concerned that President Donald Trump will take it as a snub.
When asked about the Obamas’ possible attendance on Dec. 27 on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Prince Harry replied: “I don’t know about that – we haven’t even put the invite or the guest list together. Who knows if he’s going to be invited or not? I wouldn’t want to ruin that surprise.”
At least one famous face is claiming she’ll go: Spice Girls member Mel B said on the talk show “The Real” Feb. 27 that she will attend the couple’s nuptials — and revealed that her fellow bandmates were invited, too.
The singer, however, didn’t confirm if the pop group would perform at the wedding reception.
What do we know about Markle’s engagement ring?
Prince Harry designed the custom engagement ring he gave to his fiancée — and it includes some special sentiments.
The center stone is from Botswana, where the two visited in August. But the two stones that flank the center jewel honor Prince Harry’s mother as they’re from Princess Diana’s collection.
The ring was made by court jewelers Cleave and Company, according to Town & Country magazine.
Is there anything special or unusual about the wedding date?
There could be a newborn at the wedding.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William are expecting their third child shortly before the wedding. Kensington Palace announced in October that Middleton’s due date is in April.
What’s more, the timing of the wedding could also have to do with Prince Harry’s aging grandfather, Prince Philip.
Royal expert Kate Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight that the prince’s close bond with his grandfather is behind the timing and venue of the wedding.
“In fact, one of the reasons that Prince Harry has wanted this wedding to happen quite quickly — this is really whirlwind by royal standards — is because his 96-year-old grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, is retired now and Prince Harry really wants him to be at his wedding,” Nicholl said. “He’s incredibly close to his grandfather and, being 96, Harry thought it was it was a great thing to [have] the wedding sooner rather than later, so his grandfather could be there, fit and healthy.”
And another fact about the wedding date that is perhaps a little less romantic: May 19 is the date that Anne Boleyn, the former queen of England, was executed as ordered by her husband, King Henry VIII, in 1536.
May 19 is also the FA Cup final, one of the biggest English sports events of the year, the Associated Press reported. Prince William, Harry’s older brother, is president of the Football Association and presented the trophy to the winner in 2017.