UK

When Is The Royal Wedding? Date And Venue For Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Big Day Announced

Still no bank holiday though.

28/11/2017 15:32 GMT | Updated 28/11/2017 18:33 GMT

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, it has been announced.

The couple, who revealed their engagement on 27 November, have not yet announced the exact date of their big day but it will be in May.

Kensington Palace said that Markle, who is American, is to become a British citizen, a process that could take several years.

She will also be baptised and confirmed before the wedding.

In a statement, the palace said: “The marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle will take place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May, 2018.

“Her Majesty The Queen has granted permission for the wedding to take place at the Chapel.”

The couple are “extremely grateful for the warm public response”, the palace said, adding: “In a happy moment in their lives, it means a great deal to them that so many people throughout the UK, the Commonwealth, and around the world are celebrating with them.”

The Royal Family will pay for the wedding, including the church service, the music, the flowers and the reception, the palace said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is likely to officiate at the ceremony, as is tradition. 

The venue will hold special meaning to Harry, since it is where his father, Prince Charles, had his civil wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall blessed in 2005.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced the date for their wedding
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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall leave St George's Chapel in Windsor, following the church blessing of their civil wedding ceremony in 2005

A statement from Kensington Palace said: “As with all members of The Royal Family, Windsor is a very special place for Prince Harry and he and Ms. Markle have regularly spent time there over the last year and a half.

“They are grateful to The Queen for granting permission for the use of the Chapel.

“The Chapel itself has centuries of Royal tradition and hosted the weddings of many members of The Royal Family. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are delighted that the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle will be where they begin their lives together as a married couple.”

Why St George’s Chapel?

St George’s Chapel holds a great deal of significance for the Royal Family.
Since it was built in the grounds of Windsor Castle in the 12th century, it has been the scene of numerous Royal weddings, including many of Queen Victoria’s children. 

Considered much more private than Westminster Abbey, it was also the setting of a prayer service following Prince Charles’ wedding to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2005.

While a full guest list for the blessing was not revealed, a selective list released at the time suggested the event was attended by hundreds of people, including politicians and members of royal families from around the world.

Twenty-one years earlier, Prince Harry had been baptised in the same location, while the Queen attends an Easter morning service at the chapel every year.

Harry’s cousin and Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, also married his wife Autumn Kelly in the chapel in 2008.

St George’s Royal Vault is also the final resting place of many of the nation’s Kings and Queens.

The Queen’s father, King George VI, was buried there upon his death in 1952 before being transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel in 1969. He was joined by his wife, the Queen Mother, in 2002.

The palace said that the couple wanted their day to “be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations”, as well as their friends and family. It said they were working through ideas as to how to do this.

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An exterior view of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
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A side view of the chapel

Despite hopes that a royal wedding would mean another bank holiday, Downing Street has said there are “no plans” for a national day off, much to the chagrin of many Britons.

The couple may favour one of May’s two two bank holidays, on Monday 7th and Monday 28th, for their big day. However, the latter may be favoured because it would less likely to clash with the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, which is expected in April. They also had a Spring wedding, marrying on 29 April 2011.

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Harry and the rest of his family at the wedding of Peter Phillips, which was also held in St George's Chapel in Windsor

Harry and Markle will carry out their first official visit together in Nottingham on Friday, the palace said.

They will carry out two separate engagements relating to HIV/Aids and youth crime, both issues the Prince is passionate about addressing.

The palace’s statement said: “Prince Harry has spent a significant amount of time in the city both publicly and privately since he first met with young people there in 2013 when he was exploring issues around youth violence.

“He established the Full Effect programme through The Royal Foundation the next year and is proud of the friendships and partnerships he has built there. His Royal Highness is looking forward to introducing Ms. Markle to a community that has become very special to him.”

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Prince Harry attends a lyrical writing class during a meeting with teachers and tutors during a visit to the Full Effect and Coach Core programmes at Nottingham Academy in February this year. The two projects supported by The Royal Foundation work to improve opportunities for young people.
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 Prince Harry with children from Chetwynd Primary Academy School during a visit to Coach Core at The National Ice Centre on October 26, 2016 in Nottingham, England. The Coach Core apprenticeship scheme was designed by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to take young people aged 16 - 24 with limited opportunities, and train them to be sports coaches and positive role models and mentors in their communities.

The pair will visit the Nottingham Academy, where Full Effect mentors work with young people, view a performance of the Hip Hopera, the National Justice Museum and the Nottingham Contemporary art centre for a a celebration for World AIDS Day hosted by the Terrence Higgins Trust.

They will also conduct their first official walkabout as a couple.

After much speculation, the couple revealed they got engaged in early November in London.

Speaking in a candid interview with BBC’s Mishal Husain, Harry and Meghan also revealed the moment the Prince popped the question - over a roast chicken dinner at his Kensington Palace cottage.

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Harry designed Megan's engagement ring himself using a diamond from Botswana, as well as two from Princess Diana's personal collection

The Prince, 33, revealed he knew little of the Hollywood actress before being introduced by a mutual friend. “I had never even heard about her until this friend said [to me] ‘Meghan Markle’,” he admitted. “I had never watched ‘Suits’”.

“Anything I learned about him and his family was what he shared with me and vice versa,” Markle, 36, added.

Harry also recalled the moment he knew he’d met “the one” in Markle, saying: “I was beautifully surprised and I thought I better up my game... sit down and have good chat.”

Markle showed off a dazzling three-stone yellow-gold engagement ring, designed by Harry himself with a diamond from Botswana plus two diamonds taken from the personal collection of his late mother.