On May 19, 2018, the British Royal Family will write a new chapter in the history books. Here’s why the much-anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is not just another chapter in a sweeping, royal love story, but also great news for Britain – and the world.
Under African skies
“All the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect.”
In August, 2016, Suits actress Meghan Markle found herself in the most unlikely of situations.
She was sharing a tent in Botswana – with His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales.
After just two dates with the young Prince the month before, she’d agreed to accompany him on an African holiday. It was there – sleeping out under the stars – that they each knew that they shared something special.
But it wasn’t just any love story, and it wasn’t just any camping trip. Sparsely populated and full of natural beauty, Botswana is reportedly the Prince’s favourite place on earth. He’d first visited the country as a teenager, just months after the funeral of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. With Harry and Botswana, it was love at first sight.
The Prince asked Meghan to marry him over a quiet dinner of roast chicken last November. She said ‘yes,’ before he’d even finished asking.
A Royal wedding
At Windsor castle lies the majestic St. George’s Chapel. It has stood proudly for nearly 500 years, and has seen the weddings of countless Royal Family members, beginning with the union of Prince Albert - the future King Edward VII! - and Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. From its striking black-and-white marble floor to the ornate, stained-glass windows, the chapel is a breathtaking sight.
It’s here that Prince Harry has opted to officially become a married man, rather than the larger Westminster Abbey, where his brother and the Duchess of Cambridge tied the knot.
As Meghan makes the first teetering steps along the marble aisle, she’ll be treading where many have walked before her.
But as the quintessential 21st century Royal, she’s forging a path all of her own.
An American actress has not married a prince since Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco.
There’s something refreshingly genuine about Meghan. Like many people, she’s changed her mind, perhaps made mistakes. But there’s one other, significant detail: she’s been married before.
On December 11, 1936, King Edward VIII made history by giving up the throne in order to marry the love of his life, the twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.
There’s possibly no place in the western world that’s as steeped in tradition than the British Royal Family. And yet, the Royal Family’s acceptance of Meghan, and its happiness for the young couple, is clear. Allowing Meghan and Harry to marry in a chapel – despite Meghan’s previous divorce – is a strong gesture of support.
After the ceremony, a reception will follow in the neighbouring hall. Political figures will be absent, in lieu of personal friends of the couple. The cake will be lemon and elderflower, and a list of charities has been suggested for those who’d like to make a gesture of thanks.
Despite centuries of tradition, the Royal Family has proven that it can evolve to suit the needs of a rapidly-changing world.
There’s plenty to look forward to in this new chapter of the Monarchy.