18 Tiny Details You Might Have Missed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Wedding
From the outfits to the music to the guests, the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) was a day to remember. Here’s what you may not have noticed during the ceremony.
Prince Harry’s beard
You might not have batted an eye at Prince Harry’s beard on his wedding day, but facial hair is a break from the norm for anyone wearing a military uniform. Since the groom isn’t in active service, he’s been allowed to keep his whiskers intact while wearing the Blues and Royals. His military status is also why Queen Elizabeth II had to give her grandson special permission to don the uniform on his wedding day.
Prince William’s gold braids
There’s a reason Prince William’s wedding attire seemed a bit more glammed up than the groom’s. The gold cords over his shoulder, called an aiguillette, were added to his uniform when he was named an aide-de-camp to the Queen in 2013, Harper’s Bazaar reports. An aide-de-camp is a military officer who acts as a personal assistant or secretary to a commanding officer or, in this case, a head of state.
The page boys’ outfits
A traditional page boy outfit includes breaches for younger boys or trousers for older ones, plus a Peter Pan or officer collar with a cumberband. The boys following Meghan Markle down the aisle did things a little differently, though, copying Harry with mini versions of the Blues and Royals coats. Unlike the pastels and off-whites you saw at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, these page boy outfits were black. Don’t miss these other royal wedding etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.
The empty seat
Look closely and you might have spotted a conspicuously empty seat next to Prince William. No, he wasn’t stood up—and it wasn’t meant as a tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana, either. PEOPLE reports that the seat was left empty so Queen Elizabeth, who sat directly behind the vacant chair, could have a clear view of the ceremony. Just one more perk of being one of the most powerful people in the world!
Queen Elizabeth II’s outfit
The world waited with bated breath for the reveal of Meghan’s wedding dress, but Queen Elizabeth also made a notable fashion statement at the royal wedding. She wore a bright lime green coat over a purple floral dress and a matching lime green hat. The ensemble matched her signature style trademarked by bright colors, which she purposely wears to stand out in crowds.
The maid of honor (or lack thereof)
While Prince William served as his brother’s best man, you may have noticed that Meghan had no maid of honor with her at the altar. However, this isn’t as unusual as you might think. Traditionally, royal grooms have only “supporters,” and neither a maid of honor nor a best man has traditionally been a part of British royal weddings. Multiple royal couples, though, have had at least one of these roles present in recent years. In 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding had both, as Prince Harry stood up for his brother and Pippa Middleton was her sister’s maid of honor.
Meghan’s walk down the aisle
This royal wedding made history in many ways, and the bride’s walk down the aisle, initially unaccompanied by anyone but page boys and flower girls, was one significant departure from tradition. When Meghan announced less than a week before the wedding that her father would not be attending the ceremony, royal fanatics began speculating about who would walk the Duchess-to-be down the aisle. In the end, she chose her groom’s father, Prince Charles, to meet her halfway to the altar. While Meghan was not the only royal bride who didn’t walk down the aisle with her father—in 1960, Princess Margaret walked down the aisle with Prince Philip—her solo walk makes her stand out among royal brides. Here are 14 more times Meghan Markle (and Prince Harry) broke royal protocol.
Queen Elizabeth II generously lent Meghan her grandmother’s tiara, the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara, to wear down the aisle. Kensington Palace states the diamond bandeau was made in 1932 with the entire brooch dating back to 1893. Some royals have worn the tiara with a sapphire as the center stone, but Meghan opted for a diamond on her wedding day.
The intricate floral details on Meghan’s stunning silk tulle veil hold a very special meaning—each embroidered flower represents one of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth. The creators spent hundreds of hours sewing and washed their hands every 30 minutes to ensure the veil remained immaculate. Meghan also included a few personal touches into the design, like the California poppy, her home state’s official flower, and the Wintersweet flower from the Kensington Palace grounds.
Meghan’s “something blue”
Until recently, many believed the bride fulfilled the “blue” part of the traditional wedding rhyme (something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue) by wearing an aquamarine cocktail ring that previously belonged to Princess Diana at her wedding reception at Frogmore House. However, in a video clip from the upcoming documentary Queen of the World, the Duchess revealed that her something blue was actually a piece of blue fabric sewn into her veil. The romantic part? The fabric came from the dress she wore on her first date with her husband.
The couple’s greetings
Meghan stunned everyone in St. George’s Chapel (and the millions watching from their homes) as she walked down the aisle to meet Prince Harry. Yet one of the most heartwarming moments of the entire ceremony was when the bride gave a big smile and mouthed, “Hi,” to her groom mid-procession, and he whispered “Hi” back when she reached the altar. Only this couple could turn such a simple interaction into an intimate display of love.
The appearance of Princess Diana’s sister
Did you recognize the woman giving the only reading at the wedding? It was Princess Diana’s sister, Lady Jane Fellowes. Harry’s aunt has been known to avoid publicity since her sister’s death, but braving the spotlight for the Song of Solomon reading was a way of “helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess,” according to the royal family’s official website. Check out these 12 secrets you didn’t know about Charles and Diana’s wedding.
No wedding vows are complete without the symbol of everlasting love: the wedding rings. Meghan’s ring, made from a piece of Welsh gold, was another meaningful gift from Her Majesty The Queen. Prince Harry’s platinum wedding band featured a textured finish.
You may have noticed that the pastor who delivered the rousing sermon following the reading did not do so in a British accent. Bishop Michael Bruce Curry made history as the first-ever American to be invited to speak at a British royal wedding, and he did not disappoint. In his address, he quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in an impassioned plea for love and kept the ceremony light by making the congregation laugh on multiple occasions. This spiritual leader is no stranger to breaking ground; in 2015, BBC reports, he became the first African-American to ever serve as bishop of the Episcopal Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion like the Church of England. Here are 15 facts you didn’t know about past royal weddings.
The gospel choir’s song
Just before the happy couple was officially proclaimed husband and wife, the historic occasion was celebrated in song. The Kingdom Choir, a 20-person group led by Karen Gibson, performed a stunning gospel rendition of the Ben E. King classic, “Stand By Me.” Unlike the pastor, though, this choir didn’t come from the United States; they are a multi-denominational group hailing from southeast England. This wedding wasn’t the first time the Kingdom Choir performed for royalty, either; they also sang at Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee celebration in 2002.
It was hard to miss the beautiful cello performance from 19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason, but the musician had made his mark on history even before playing for an audience of millions at the wedding. When Kanneh-Mason won the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 2016, he went down in history as the first black musician to earn that honor. Find out 11 more ways Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding made history.
The guest list
With so many stars in the crowd, it was difficult to spot every famous face. With everyone from sports icons like David Beckham and Serena Williams to screen stars like George Clooney, Idris Elba, and Meghan’s close friend Priyanka Chopra in attendance, the crowd in the church had more stars than any in royal wedding history. Oprah Winfrey wore a beautiful dusty rose ensemble, and despite speculation that he wouldn’t attend, Sir Elton John could be spotted in the crowd, bright pink glasses and all.
Ah yes, the moment everyone had been waiting for since Prince Harry and Meghan announced their engagement: their first kiss as a married couple. However, unlike many recent royal weddings, it was not a balcony kiss. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared the beautiful moment on the steps outside St. George’s Chapel. That’s not the only memorable moment from historic royal weddings. Don’t miss the 19 most iconic royal wedding photos throughout history.