Kate and williams wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to have the wedding of the year this coming spring, but don’t expect their royal affair to be a copy of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s 2011 ceremony. Here’s what we know so far about how the wedding will be different.

On Tuesday, Kensington Palace announced that the wedding will take place in May 2018 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The Queen has approved the venue, and the royal family will pay for the wedding.

The marriage of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle will take place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May 2018. pic.twitter.com/lJdtWnbdpB

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 28, 2017

St. George’s Chapel contains the tombs of 10 royals, including Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour. At least three services take place there every day, and all are open to the public. Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives for part of every year, is located about 20 miles west of London. “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,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. Harry himself was christened there in 1984, so by the rules of the Church of England, he can be married there.

St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Getty Images The interior of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Getty Images

Though William and Kate were married in Westminster Abbey in 2011 and Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981, Harry’s wedding won’t be the first time a recent royal has married at St. George’s. According to NBC News, Harry’s uncle, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones there in 1999, and his cousin, Peter Phillips, married Autumn Kelly at the chapel in 2008. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles had a televised religious blessing there after they had a civil wedding ceremony nearby in 2005.

The space is much smaller than Westminster Abbey, holding around 800 people compared to the Abbey’s whopping 2,000, The Guardian reports. Harry and Meghan plan on making the ceremony reflect their personalities and they’re determining a way to involve the public in some way, their spokesman revealed. Either way, the tone seems like it will be much different from William and Kate’s pomp and circumstance.

“It will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the character of the bride and groom,” their spokesman told journalists. “The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family. They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved.”

Royal Wedding 2018: Everything You Need To Know

Read more: Royal Wedding In Pictures

When was the royal wedding 2018?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married on May 19, 2018. The couple’s decision to wed on a Saturday went against tradition, as royal weddings usually take place on a weekday. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed on a Friday and the Queen on a Thursday.

© Getty Images

On the morning of the wedding it was announced that the Queen has conferred a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales. His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. Prince Harry is thus His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Markle has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.

Read more: Meghan Markle Weds In A Givenchy Wedding Dress By Clare Waight Keller

The chosen date fell on the same day as the FA Cup final at Wembley, a match that Prince Harry’s best man, the Duke of Cambridge, usually attends as president of the Football Association to present the trophy. The May date may also have been selected in order to give the Duchess of Cambridge time to recover after the birth of her third child, Prince Louis.

Read more: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s First Interview

The invitations follow many years of royal tradition and were made by Barnard Westwood. Using American ink on English card, each invite was printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edge. The three-feathered badge of the Prince of Wales was given pride of place in the centre.

Where did the royal wedding 2018 take place?

The marriage of Prince Harry and Markle took place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at 12pm. They became the 16th royal couple to celebrate their marriage at Windsor Castle since 1863. The Queen granted permission for the ceremony to be held in the place of worship, which seats approximately 800, and core aspects of the wedding, including the service, music, flowers, decorations and reception, were paid for by the royal family. One week prior to the ceremony, the Queen signed the Instrument of Consent – the official document granting her grandson permission to marry his fiancé.

**Related reading: Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s wedding**

The cake – a lemon elderflower bake that incorporated the bright flavours of spring – was made by Violet Bakery’s Claire Ptak, and the flowers – branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, and white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves from the gardens and parkland of the Crown Estate and Windsor Park – were arranged by Philippa Craddock. Music for the service included a number of well-known hymns and choral works under the direction of James Vivian, director of music at St George’s Chapel.

“This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom,” Jason Knauf, Prince Harry’s communications secretary, said prior to the celebration. “The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family. They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too.”

Read more: Glowing Bridal Beauty At Its Best For The New Duchess Of Sussex

On the morning of the wedding, Kensington Palace published the order of service online, which was conducted by the Dean of Windsor and officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The couple selected words from The Marriage Service from Common Worship (2000), using contemporary language – such as the word “you” instead of “thee” and “thou” – and, as is common these days, Markle did not promise to “obey” Harry. Ben E King’s soul classic “Stand By Me” was performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir, and a gospel choir performed Etta James’s version of “Amen/This Little Light of Mine” as the newlyweds left the chapel. Hymns included the Welsh rugby anthem “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”, otherwise known as “Bread of Heaven”.

Read more: The Story Behind Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring

Markle’s ring was fashioned from a piece of Welsh Gold, gifted by the Queen, while Prince Harry’s was created from platinum with a textured finish. Both rings were crafted in the Cleave workshop, and were carried to the chapel by the Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as best man.

After the couple were married, they undertook a carriage procession from St George’s Chapel through Windsor town returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk. Alexi Lubomirski then took the official photographs at Windsor Castle.

“They hope this short journey will provide an opportunity for more people to come together around Windsor and to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day,” a statement from Kensington Palace said in the run-up to the big day. “Following the service, there will be a reception at St George’s Hall for the couple and the guests from the congregation. Later that evening, the Prince of Wales will give a private evening reception for the couple and their close friends and family.”

Sir Elton John performed at the lunchtime reception for the newlyweds, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen.

Read more: Princess Eugenie And Jack Brooksbank Are Engaged

On the morning of the nuptials, Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, accompanied Markle to Windsor Castle. Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, was not at the wedding to walk his daughter down the aisle, because of his health. In a statement made days before her wedding, Markle said she had “always cared” for her father and hoped he could be given the space he needed to focus on his wellbeing. It was subsequently announced that Prince Charles would give his future daughter-in-law away in her father’s absence.

In regards to Diana, Princess of Wales’s legacy on the day, a statement from Kensington Palace confirmed: “In addition to having the support of The Queen, his father The Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince William as best man, Prince Harry is also keen to involve his mother’s family in his wedding. All three siblings of Diana, Princess of Wales will be in attendance and Lady Jane Fellowes will give the reading. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day.”

Who was on the guest list?

Around 600 guests were in attendance, a small crowd in contrast to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who wed in front of 1,900 guests – a number just shy of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who invited 2,000 guests to their 1947 wedding. As Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne, he was not obliged to invite diplomats from across the globe to the celebration, which was less of a state occasion. “It has been decided that an official list of political leaders – both UK and international – is not required for Prince Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding. Her Majesty’s government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by the royal household,” a spokesperson said in a statement on April 10.

The bridal procession.

Some of the 1,200 guests, who were selected by regional Lord Lieutenant offices from a broad range of backgrounds and age groups, were announced on Twitter, along with the stories of how they have served their communities.

A group of 200 close acquaintances were invited to an after-party at Frogmore House, which is just a short walk from St George’s Chapel. See which high profile names attended the ceremony, here.

Read more: Royal Wedding Guest Photos

Frogmore House will also be open to royal fans from June 5 to 7, with all proceeds from the visits donated to the National Garden Scheme, the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, and Prisoners’ Education Trust.

The couple begin their procession through the streets of Windsor, waving to the crowds.

© Getty Images

Who designed Meghan Markle’s wedding dress?

Markle married Prince Harry, and became the Duchess of Sussex wearing Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy. Markle met Waight Keller in early 2018 and “chose to work with her for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour,” a statement from Kensington Palace said. “Ms Markle also wanted to highlight the success of a leading British talent who has now served as the creative head of three globally influential fashion houses – Pringle of Scotland, Chloé, and now Givenchy.” Read everything you need to know about the collaboration, here.

Read more: The Vogue Verdict On The Duchess of Sussex’s Wedding Dress

Both Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge wore the frockcoat uniform of the blues and royals, which were tailored at Dege & Skinner on Savile Row. The Queen gave permission for Prince Harry to get married in his uniform.

Read more: What The Vogue Editors Would Love To See Meghan Markle Wed In

Who were Meghan’s bridesmaids?

It was confirmed several days prior to the nuptials that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would perform the roles of page boy and bridesmaid in the ceremony, alongside eight other young children. They were Prince Harry’s godchildren – Florence van Cutsem (3), Zalie Warren (2) and Jasper Dyer (6) – and Markle’s goddaughters – Remi and Rylan Litt (6 and 7) – and the three children of Jessica Mulroney, one of the bride’s closest friends – Ivy (4) and twins Brian and John (7).

The bridesmaids and page boys arrive with their mothers, including the Duchess of Cambridge.

Markle reportedly decided to forgo choosing adult bridesmaids from her close set of friends. Actress Priyanka Chopra, tennis champion Serena Williams, designer Misha Nonoo and stylist Mulroney were all names that were suggested.

Read more: HRH The Duchess Of Sussex’s Best Style Moments

Will there be a bank holiday?

Although the public were given a day off to celebrate the weddings of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer in 1981, Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011, and Princess Anne to Mark Phillips in 1973, Prince Harry and his fiancée’s choice to wed on May 19 avoided the issue of whether or not the royal wedding should be a bank holiday.

Read more: Where Will Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Honeymoon?

Kensington Palace confirmed on April 9 via Twitter that the couple would like to forgo any traditional wedding presents in favour of donations to the following causes: CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association), Crisis (a UK-based homelessness charity), the Myna Mahila Foundation (a charity that supports women in Mumbai’s urban slums), Scotty’s Little Soldiers (which helps bereaved Armed Forces children), StreetGames (a foundation using sport to change lives), Surfers against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK (which promotes the enjoyment of wild nature).

Related reading: everything you need to know about Princess Eugenie’s wedding.

Read more: Royal Wedding In Pictures

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The wedding of the decade is less than 12 hours away, and final plans for the royal nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are quickly coming together. This evening, Kensington Palace released the order of service for the wedding ceremony. Here, a breakdown of exactly what to expect from the big day—and when to expect it to happen—so you can plan your viewing party accordingly.

Saturday, May 19

9:00 AM GMT (4:00 AM EST): The 1,200 members of the public invited to stand inside the grounds of Windsor Castle will begin to arrive and take their places. These people were invited to attend specifically in thanks for “their work supporting their communities.”

9:30-11 AM GMT (4:30-6 AM EST): The 600 guests invited to attend the ceremony inside St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle will arrive by bus and enter through the chapel’s South Door.

11:25 AM GMT (6:25 AM EST): The royal family will arrive either by car or on foot and enter the chapel through the Galilee Porch.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex stand on Windsor Castle’s Galilee Porch while the Queen leads the Order of the Garter Ceremony in June 2014. Getty Images

Prince Harry and Prince William will walk to St. George’s Chapel and greet the 200 guests from Prince Harry’s charities in the Horseshoe Cloister at the bottom of the West Steps.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stand on the West Steps at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle at the 2004 funeral of Princess Alice. Getty Images

Around the same time, Markle will leave her overnight accommodation with her mother, Doria Ragland, and the two will drive to Windsor Castle through the Long Walk in order to wave to public well-wishers. The car will drop off Ragland so she can enter the chapel ahead of her daughter.

After dropping off her mother, Markle will meet with her bridesmaids and page boys before continuing to the West Steps, where she’ll enter the chapel and walk down the aisle with the groom’s father, Prince Charles.

11:40 AM: Prince Harry and Prince William will enter the chapel.

11:42 AM: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will enter the chapel.

11:45 AM: Ragland will enter the chapel.

11:52 AM: Queen Elizabeth will arrive and enter the chapel.

12 PM GMT (7 AM EST): The ceremony will begin at St. George’s Chapel, where the Dean of Windsor will conduct the service and the Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate the vows. The ceremony will last an hour and open with prayers followed by a reading by Lady Jane Fellowes from the Song of Solomon, and an address by the Most Reverend Michael Curry. Then, the vows will take place, followed by the exchange of rings, the proclamation of marriage, the blessing of the marriage, more prayers and blessings, the singing of the National Anthem, and then, the bride and groom will process out of the chapel.

1 PM GMT (8 AM EST): The ceremony will conclude and Prince Harry and Markle will exit the church and greet the guests from the prince’s charities in the cloister. “The couple are delighted that these people who will be such an important part of their official work in the years to come will be the first people they see after their wedding,” the prince’s representative said in a statement.

St. George’s Hall Getty Images

The newlyweds will then enter the Ascot Landau carriage for a 25-minute procession through Windsor Town, as members of the royal family watch from the West Steps of the chapel. During the procession, the rest of the guests will walk from the chapel to the luncheon at St. George’s Hall.

TBD: The final public celebration of the day will consist of Prince Harry and Markle leaving Windsor Castle for the evening event at Frogmore House, a seven-minute drive from the castle.

Frogmore House Getty Images

The couple will spend their wedding night at Windsor Castle, according to royal reporter Hannah Furness. They couple won’t honeymoon right away, and instead plan to carry out their first public engagement as husband and wife just days after the wedding.

  • Eight years ago, Hugo Burnand photographed Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding.
  • Here, he discusses what it was like preparing for the event, from practicing shots with Buckingham Palace staffers to bringing in every possible piece of equipment needed.
  • Plus, he reveals why his favorite picture of the day, the portrait of William and Kate sitting with the children from their bridal party, almost didn’t happen.

Ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s eighth anniversary on Monday, their royal wedding photographer Hugo Burnand reveals to T&C what it was really like to document history, from his jellybean bribes for the kids in the bridal party to the one photo that almost didn’t happen.

How Burnand landed the gig of the century

On April 20, 2011, Kensington Palace announced in a statement that Prince William and Kate Middleton had chosen Hugo Burnand to be their official wedding photographer. For some, it was an obvious decision; Burnand was well-known in London circles, having been Tatler Magazine’s society photographer for more 20 years. He was also already well-versed in royal weddings, having served as the official photographer at Prince Charles and Camilla’s nuptials in 2005.

Prince Charles and Camilla on their wedding day. Hugo Burnand/Pool/Getty ImagesGetty Images

But he almost said no to that royal wedding. He had been traveling in South America with his family for six months when one night everything they owned was stolen, including his camera equipment. He managed to get internet access the next day, and “bizarrely there was an email from Camilla Parker Bowles saying that she had a big date coming up in April, and she wanted to know if I’d be available to take some photos.”

Of course, it was too big an opportunity to turn down, and Burnand cut his family’s travels short to make the celebration. “I thought it be a shame to miss out on photographing the future king of England’s wedding and the future, future king of England who would be there too,” he says.

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It was that job that eventually led to Burnand’s relationship with Prince William. Following Charles’s wedding, the Prince of Wales started asking Burnand to take pictures of his sons. “I was relatively often for various things,” he says. When William and Kate announced their engagement, he was naturally in the running.

“I said, ‘Am I on for it?’ and they said, ‘Ooh, there’s a few people.’ Well, actually, apparently, there was never any question. They just liked to keep me guessing.”

What it was like planning for the wedding

Burnand and his team had limited time to plan their part in one of the biggest weddings of the century. “We had three weeks of serious pre-production organization and then three days right before the wedding when we set ourselves up at Buckingham Palace inside the Throne Room—it became our home,” he says.

The Throne Room was where Burnand and his team were to take those important historical portraits. “We wanted it to look like a spring day and, of course, no one knew if it would actually be a spring day so we lit it through the windows so it would, regardless,” he says.

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose with their families and bridal party in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace. Hugo Burnand/AFP/Getty Images

In general, lighting the room proved to be their biggest challenge. “The silk damask on the palace walls sucks in all the light,” he explains. So, the team used a “Chinese lantern up on the ceiling which was higher than the chandeliers to give a gentle light, to stop it looking artificial.”

They had to bring in a huge amount of equipment as well. “I don’t carry the equipment to light a Throne Room on a daily basis,” he says. “And we had spares for everything and then spares for the spares.”

The prep also involved meticulous time-keeping. “We did dress rehearsals with stopwatches using endless staff from Buckingham Palace to fill in as family members, so we knew we had just enough time,” Burnand explains. “The Fly Past was at 1:30 p.m. and we couldn’t over run, even by a minute.”

A view of the RAF fly past saluting the royal couple on the day of William and Kate’s wedding. Oli ScarffGetty Images

The portraits themselves were also thoroughly planned in a “specific schedule.” Burnand says he and Kate, who is an amateur photographer herself, had lengthy discussions about how they both wanted to create unique pictures. “We decided not to photograph any of the portraits up against the wall because the architecture of the room was so amazing,” he says.

“There was one picture I really wanted to take, but we were only allowed to take this picture if we had achieved everything else.”

The big day, and the photo that almost didn’t happen

After an enormous amount of planning, April 29 finally arrived. Just after sunrise, the streets surrounding Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace were already bustling with millions of well-wishes, each hoping to catch a glimpse of William and Kate’s special day. So, was Burnand nervous?

“We were so prepared, it was very exciting to be that prepared. I don’t think I have ever been that prepared in all my life,” he says.

“The extraordinary thing is, if you really do have everything in place—you have practiced a bulb exploding and how quickly you can change it; you’ve practiced the lens freezing; the camera freezing and how to coax a child away from hiding behind a curtain. Our preparation was so tip-top that all we really wanted was for it to happen, we were like ‘come on, test us, test us,’ so it wasn’t scary, it was incredibly exciting.”

Will and Kate’s wedding photographer Hugo Burnand posing with one of his prints the day after Will and Kate’s wedding. WPA PoolGetty Images

With such a short amount of time to get those key shots, Burnand had a few tricks up his sleeve to make sure the wedding party were at ease.

“It was important for me to have female influence on my team otherwise it becomes a bit school-like with lots of men standing there in their morning coats. It can feel threatening, perhaps not to the older generations but to the younger ones. My mom was the hands-on granny and helped me with the children and there were jelly beans, lots of jelly beans.”

Burnand filled an enormous bowl of the candy and a bowl of what he calls “healthy snacks.” “I told them all that they would get jelly beans if they were good. Bribery is good—but you can’t give in to bribery if they haven’t done their job,” he says.

“By the end of the shoot there were hardly any jelly beans—it wasn’t just the children who were eating them.” It turns out nobody wanted the healthy treats. “They were all that was left.”

Burnand adds, “We finished with three minutes to spare so I asked Catherine if we could do the shot we had talked about previously. And she turned to William and said, ‘What do you think?’ And he said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ So in three minutes she sat down on the steps, Sarah Burton put the dress out perfectly, Prince William leant in, the children basically did what they felt was the right thing to do.”

The Duke of Cambridge and Catherine pose with their bridesmaids and page boys in the throne room of Buckingham Palace. Hugo Burnand/St James’s Palace – WPA Pool/Getty Images

“That was a very spontaneous picture. That little detail there and William leaning in there, all these things were not directed, but a result of a good relationship with everyone.” It was Burnand’s favorite portrait from the day.

When he and his team were leaving the palace, they walked past a Winterhalter painting of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children.

“I don’t know whether I had seen it before or not but it’s quite similar to the shot of Catherine and William sitting down, the colors, the positions,” he says. “Subliminally I think I may have been referencing that, but I didn’t have it in front of me, I hadn’t seen it recently. And yet it managed to influence my shot. That was the first time I felt very emotional, like ‘Wow, we’ve really done something.'”

Franz Winterhalter’s portrait of Queen Victoria and her children, which hangs in Buckingham Palace. Franz Winterhalter/The Royal Collection Trust

But there’s one aspect of the day Burnand can’t quite remember. “We were standing in the room behind the balcony, looking down the Mall, and it was incredible to see that image of so many people I was standing there with my assistant and I said, ‘we have to pinch our arms so never forget this moment,'” the photographer recollects.

“So we both pinched our arms and then about two days later I said, ‘Do you remember being behind the curtain?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Can you remember what we saw?’ He said, ‘no.’ I can only remember pinching myself too. I have no recollection of what the Mall looked like but I do remember the pinching.”

A scene of the Mall on the day of William and Kate’s wedding. Fred DuvalGetty Images

Life and work after a royal wedding

While he admits to not really realizing “the enormity” of the job until a police man recognized him as he cycled home after the royal wedding, Burnand was soon highly in-demand—and not just for weddings.

“Bizarrely, the first commission I got afterwards was to fly to Tanzania to photograph the migration of the wildebeest across the Mara River. I have no idea why the royal wedding inspired that, but it was an incredible opportunity and I absolutely loved it,” Burnand says.

He added, “I’ve been tremendously lucky, and have been asked to travel the globe to photograph weddings, as far as India in one direction, and to the USA in the other, and I have to say that some of the most fun ones have been in America—they really know how to celebrate a wedding.”

But Burnand admits that he did (and still does) turn down wedding jobs. “You can’t, as a photographer, give that dedication to people every other weekend otherwise you run dry and become a cynic,” he says. “So I don’t do that many weddings, I try and limit it to a handful a year.”

That said, Burnand and his team are lined up to photograph Gabriella Windsor’s wedding on May 18, for which is he “thrilled.”

But was he disappointed he wasn’t asked to photograph Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last year? “Not at all. I’ve had a really good bite of that cherry. It’s rewarding of them to spread the opportunities around. What I did is that I watched so closely from the sidelines. I really enjoyed being a guest at the wedding, it was amazing to not have the pressure and I loved it purely because I was experiencing what I hadn’t be able to experience the time before.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day in May of 2018. WPA PoolGetty Images

Today, alongside his private work, Burnand is turning his photography “into something that can help people.” He co-founded a conversation charity in England and Panama called Panama Wildlife Conservation and in 2017, a series of pictures he took of indigenous tribes were exhibited at the V&A and sold to raise money. He’s also working on a rehabilitation project with prisoners in the U.K.

And his next big ambition? “Whatever I do, try not to f*ck it up.” He adds, “I think the reason why I’m still taking photographs, why I’m still going around the world is that I really, really enjoy it and I want to keep doing it.”

Annabelle Spranklen As Tatler’s former Digital Editor, journalist Annabelle Spranklen spent over six years writing about society parties, outrageously expensive holidays, and the British royal family.

Remembering Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 Royal Wedding

1 / 16Chevron Chevron By Warren Allott/AFP/Getty Images. DV942851

Each week in April, Vanity Fair will flash back to a different British royal wedding in the lead-up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 19 nuptials.

When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010, he presented her with his mother’s own engagement ring—a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds that Princess Diana had picked out from court jeweler Garrard before her own fairy-tale wedding to Prince Charles.

“It was my way of making sure mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together,” William told press afterward.

Even though Princess Diana was represented, from that point forward, by the iconic ring sitting on Middleton’s finger, Kate made sure in the following six months to pay tribute to “the inspirational woman” who would have been her mother-in-law. A week before the wedding, as worldwide anticipation reached a fever pitch, Kate reportedly made a special trip with William to Diana’s burial site—venturing 90 minutes’ northwest of London to the 13,000-acre Althorp Estate that has belonged to the Spencer family since the 16th century. The pair reportedly took a boat to lay flowers at Diana’s Oval Island resting place; wandered the princess’s ancestral estate; and walked through the arboretum where William and Harry planted trees as children.

“It was very important for William to take Kate to visit his mum just before their wedding day,” a source told The Mirror at the time. “Diana is still a huge part of her boy’s everyday life and always will be. Even though Kate never met Diana she knows what an incredible woman she was and it is very important to her she can share and understand William’s love and grief for his mum. . . . It is tragic that she won’t be there to see the wedding and that she never got to meet his bride.”

The tributes continued. Though William and Kate married at a different site than Charles and Diana—Charles, an architecture and music buff, had opted for the more handsome, acoustically sound St. Paul’s Cathedral—the bride and groom incorporated other homages. Like Diana, Kate had a small blue bow sewn into her wedding dress for good luck, and antique lace repurposed in the design as her “something old.” (Aside from those touches—plus the white color, long sleeves, and gauzy veil—there were few other similarities between Kate and Diana’s wedding dresses. Kate’s gown—a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen design, rumored to cost $434,000, was an elegant A-line, with an elaborate bodice appliqué woven with shamrock, roses, and lilies, and a nine-foot train.)

Why Kate Middleton Can Never Have a ‘Normal’ Marriage With Prince William

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry are dominating the headlines at the moment over their resignation. But Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William are bound to be the royals who deal with the spotlight 24/7.

Prince William is duty-bound to be the future king and to forever live in the goldfish bowl of royal life — just like his wife, Kate. The two have been together for well over a decade and have forged a relationship that, to many, seems solid and successful.

However, there’s no doubt that for Prince William and Kate, marriage will always be very different from most other couples.

When did Kate Middleton and Prince William get married?

Kate Middleton | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate and Prince William first met around 2001, when they were both students at the prestigious St. Andrews University. They became roommates in 2002 and by the year 2003, they started dating.

After several years, the news of their romance became public knowledge and the two were spotted on getaways together all over the world. Kate even started meeting members of the royal family, proving that Prince William was very serious about his girlfriend.

In 2007, Kate and Prince William briefly broke up, due to media pressure. After less than a year, they were back together again, and this time, it was for good.

They got engaged in November 2010, with Prince William presenting her with his late mother’s fabulous sapphire and diamond ring. Their royal wedding in April 2011 was watched by thousands of people all over the world. It seemed as though Kate and Prince William were truly living a fairytale.

Kate Middleton and Prince William are trying to give their children a normal life

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To all the fantastic organisations and inspirational people we met and worked with in 2019: Thank you for a wonderful year, and see you in 2020!

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In July 2013, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child: Prince George. They eventually welcomed two more children: Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

As parents, Prince William and Kate seem to be very hands-on, constantly holding, hugging, and reassuring their three young children. This is a marked break from royal tradition, as many royal parents have been more “hands-off” in their approach to parenthood.

According to reports, the couple desperately wants their children to have a normal upbringing and to experience all the joys of childhood, without the pressures that come from growing up within the royal family. At home, Kate enjoys doing hands-on things such as baking and crafting with the children. While they do utilize nannies, they still do a lot of parenting duties on a daily basis on their own, just like other couples all over the world.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will never have a normal marriage

Even if Kate and Prince William are determined to give their children a normal life, the sad reality is that they will likely never experience that sense of normalcy in their own marriage. According to a recent report, the royal couple is “discouraged” from any public displays of affection, such as hand-holding or even a peck on the cheek, due to the rules of royal decorum.

Although there isn’t any specific rule that states how often married couples can engage in PDA, there are some guidelines, and couples are encouraged to match their behavior to the structure of the event that they are attending. “Regular” married couples don’t have to worry about such things and are free to hold hands, hug, or affectionately touch each other whenever they choose.

Prince William and Kate are forever duty-bound to live this type of life, due to the nature of Prince William’s role in the royal family. Still, the report also claims that the two do truly seem to be happy and that they are more or less used to living in the spotlight. They will certainly need all of their strength as well as their reserve as they navigate the future of the monarchy.