What we know (and don’t know) about the royal wedding

The royal wedding will see a British prince marry an American actress in the historic surroundings of Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.

Here is what we know about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s high profile nuptials on Saturday – and what is still up in the air:

Father of the bride

Thomas Markle is now feared to be unable to walk his daughter down the aisle because of having a heart operation in the US, it has been reported.

Mr Markle, who was due to meet the Queen ahead of the wedding, was earlier this week said to have pulled out of attending the ceremony following allegations he posed for staged paparazzi photos.

There has been no official confirmation as to what is happening from Kensington Palace, who said: “This is a deeply personal moment for Ms Markle in the days before her wedding.

“She and Prince Harry ask again for understanding and respect to be extended to Mr Markle in this difficult situation.”

Mother of the Bride

Now Doria Ragland is being tipped to step in for her ex-husband and accompany her daughter down the aisle.

Will Doria Ragland walk Meghan down the aisle? (Danny Lawson/PA)

She was already due to travel part of the way with her daughter by car to Windsor Castle on the morning of the wedding.

Best man

The Duke of Cambridge, of course, will be best man for his younger brother Harry.

The Duke of Cambridge is best man to Prince Harry (Toby Melville/PA)

He will deliver a speech at the reception and be in charge of the rings.

William, president of the Football Association, is missing the FA Cup final in favour of the celebrations.

Bridesmaids and pageboys

Prince George and Princess Charlotte are among the six bridesmaids and four pageboys.

The Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Princess Charlotte at Pippa Middeton’s wedding (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Harry’s goddaughters Zalie Warren, two, and three-year-old Florence van Cutsem, Ms Markle’s goddaughters, sisters Remi and Rylan Litt, aged six and seven respectively, and four-year-old Ivy Mulroney – the daughter of Meghan’s close friend Jessica Mulroney – will also be bridesmaids.

The other pageboys are Harry’s six-year-old godson Jasper Dyer – the son of Harry’s mentor Mark Dyer – and Mrs Mulroney’s seven-year-old twin sons Brian and John Mulroney.

There is no maid of honour as Ms Markle did not want to choose just one person out of her close group of friends.

The night before

Meghan and Harry are keeping to tradition by spending the night before their wedding apart.

The bride will be at the Cliveden House Hotel, set in a National Trust estate in Taplow, Berkshire, with her mother Doria.

Cliveden House Hotel where Meghan will stay the night before her wedding (National Trust/PA)

Harry will be with William 15 miles away at the Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park in Ascot.

Dress

The design will be kept secret until the moment Ms Markle emerges in her gown on the way to the chapel.

Ralph & Russo, whose dress Meghan wore for her official engagement photos, are rumoured to be the chosen designers.

Meghan in a Ralph & Russo gown, with Harry (Alexi Lubomirski/PA)

Grounds of Windsor

Some 1,200 specially selected members of the public – including charity and community heroes – have been invited into the grounds of the castle from 9am to picnic and watch the royal couple arrive and leave for their carriage procession.

Members of the royal household, representatives of Harry’s charities and some local schoolchildren will also be in the Lower Ward of the castle.

Timings

The congregation will start arriving from 9.30am and the royals from 11.20am.

The service begins at 12pm and the newlyweds will emerge from the chapel at 1pm.

Harry and William’s arrival

The brothers will arrive at the West Steps, walking past the hundreds of spectators invited into the Lower Ward, as well as greeting representatives from Harry’s charities.

Flowers

The chapel will be filled with white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves, with branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, carefully crafted by floral designer Philippa Craddock.

Royal wedding florist Philippa Craddock (Victoria Jones/PA)

Guests

Kensington Palace is not releasing a full official guest list. Some 600 guests will be in St George’s and 200 of those will party into the night at the reception in nearby Frogmore House.

No politicians

Neither Donald Trump, Barack Obama nor Canadian PM Justin Trudeau will be there and neither will Prime Minister Theresa May as aides have said the wedding is not a state occasion.

The Spencers

The siblings of Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales will be guests – Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.

The sisters of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Lady Sarah McCorquodale (left) and Lady Jane Fellowes and her brother Earl Spencer (PA)

Lady Jane will give a reading.

Music

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the gospel Kingdom Choir founded and directed by Karen Gibson, Baroque specialist trumpeter David Blackadder and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas will be among those providing the music which will echo around the 15th century church.

Kiss

The bride and groom’s appearance on the West Steps, surrounded by their families, will be their “balcony moment” – the most likely opportunity for a public kiss.

Carriage ride

Just after 1pm, the couple will be waved off by members of the royal family and head on a 25-minute carriage ride through the town in the Ascot Landau, with military representatives lining the streets.

The Ascot Landau (PA)

Lunchtime reception

This will be in the magnificent St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle.

The Queen is hosting the gathering for the 600-strong congregation, and guests will tuck into classic dishes made from seasonal British produce, served as canapes and bowl dishes.

Downtime

Those heading to the reception in the evening will have the chance to rest in the late afternoon and change before the reception at Frogmore House begins at 7pm.

The evening reception will be at Frogmore House (PA)

Ms Markle could switch outfits for the evening, like the Duchess of Cambridge did at her wedding.

Cake

The official wedding cake is a lemon elderflower wedding cake decorated with buttercream icing and fresh flowers.

Claire Ptak, owner of the trendy, organic Violet Bakery in Hackney, east London, has already made a start on the cake after taking delivery of six crates of lemons.

And so it begins 🍋

A post shared by Violet By Claire Ptak (@violetcakeslondon) on

Photographer

Fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who took the couple’s engagement pictures, has been chosen to capture the big day as the official wedding photographer.

Royal baby

Prince Louis will not be there, but his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be attending.

Duke of Edinburgh

The palace is hoping that 96-year-old Philip, who is recovering from a hip operation, can make it to the ceremony but his presence is not yet confirmed – although he was spotted at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

The Queen talking to the Duke of Edinburgh during the Royal Windsor Horse Show (Steve Parsons/PA)

Around the town

Royal fans descending on Windsor will be greeted by a party atmosphere.

Food stalls and facilities, including big screens showing live footage of the wedding and the procession, will be in place in the Long Walk and in Alexandra Gardens.

Royal fans in Windsor, including Diana superfan John Loughrey (2nd right) ahead of the royal wedding this weekend (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Transport

Rail operators are putting on extra trains and there will be park and walk, and park and float services – by boat along the River Thames – to help people get into town.

Planning ahead

Well-wishers are being encouraged to book their travel arrangements early.

If the numbers create a safety issue, Windsor will effectively be closed to latecomers by the police.

Television

The ceremony will be televised.

Live coverage of the day’s events by the BBC will be presented by Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards, and Dermot O’Leary among others, while Julie Etchingham and Phillip Schofield will lead ITV’s coverage.

Sky News is screening the proceedings in ultra high definition (UHD), fronted by presenter Kay Burley from a special studio on the Long Walk.

A tour bus making its way past broadcast studios which are being erected on the Long Walk in Windsor (PA)

Former Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt will be the royal correspondent for BBC Radio 1 for the day.

Order of Service

The full Order of Service will be published on the morning of the wedding.

Titles

Any titles given to Harry – which will most likely include a dukedom – by the Queen will be announced by Buckingham Palace the same morning.

Honeymoon

The destination is a secret, but Harry and Ms Markle will not be leaving straight away.

They will be back on royal duty, carrying out their first engagement as a married couple at a Buckingham Palace garden party with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall three days after the wedding.

Home

Kensington Palace said the couple will continue to live at Nottingham Cottage at KP, but they are also reported to be moving to a bigger apartment in the palace grounds.

- Press Association


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