Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s romance has broken with tradition in many ways. To start, Harry himself actually confirmed their relationship via a very public statement back in November 2016, beginning what was to be a wild 12 months.
Just one year later, the couple announced their engagement, and Markle quickly began accompanying her fiancé on official public duties, even doing so with Queen Elizabeth before their wedding. To put it in context, the future king, Prince William, didn’t bring Kate Middleton to official engagements with the queen until they were wed.
Add onto that the fact that she showed up in all-black outfits, trousers, and messy buns, breaking with the custom of wearing brightly colored skirts and dresses with perfectly coiffed blowouts.
Along with her fashion choices, Markle is quite the interesting pick for Harry’s bride. She’s American, a former Hollywood actress, and a divorcee—something that would have disqualified her from joining the royal family just a few decades prior.
Clearly nothing about this romance is traditional, and perhaps that’s why the public has been so infatuated with their love affair. But when Markle and Prince Harry get married on May 19 at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, their wedding day will actually be more conventional than you might think—at least where the royal family is concerned. The couple invited a few thousand members of the public to come inside the gates and celebrate their big day, and they’re not the first regal couple to do so.
“It’s very much following in some royal footsteps in fact, because the blueprints of this wedding is Prince Edward’s wedding to Sophie Rhys-Jones, and then they invited several thousands of the public to not just line the streets but come into the grounds to Windsor Castle to see the guests arriving and the couple leaving in their carriage procession, so this has been done before. And back then in 1999, Edward and Sophie’s wedding was referred to as the people’s wedding, so I think we’re seeing another people’s wedding. I think this will be on a much bigger scale,” royal expert and author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love Katie Nicholl told InStyle, referencing the couple’s widespread popularity.
“They said from the outset that they wanted it to be a day that the public could also enjoy, and they will allow the cameras into their wedding. They’re going to enable the television crews to set up and record the day so that everyone that’s gathered in the streets of Windsor will be able to watch the ceremony on big screens.”
“The carriage procession was something they really wanted to do. Despite all the security risks that obviously come with an open-top procession, they were determined to do it quite simply because they know that’s the one opportunity that the public is going to get to see them. These will be people who have traveled from, I suspect, around the world, who have stood out for many, many hours to see the royal couple, and it’s very important to Meghan and Harry to make sure that they weren’t disappointed,” Nicholl continued.
In fact, their wedding day is keeping with the theme of their relationship as a whole. “I think that they’ve been very generous in many ways, Meghan and Harry, in terms of including the public and sharing the joy of their own wedding day and the build up to their wedding day. If you look at all the engagements that they’ve done, they’ve been very keen to go and pump the flesh and meet members of the public and engage with them. I think that’s been very important to them. Harry’s incredibly proud of Meghan Markle and he’s wanted to be able to take the opportunity to show her off whenever he can. I think that’s rather lovely.”
The feeling is mutual.