ROYAL WATCH

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Attempting the Impossible: Trying to Keep Their Wedding as Low-Key as Possible

The pair is staying far from Westminster Abbey, where a million people showed up for Kate Middleton’s ceremony.


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Last month, even before their engagement was official, news started to spread that Prince Harry had absolutely no plans to indulge the masses with the juicy details of his wedding to Meghan Markle, preferring to keep the ceremony “private” and all to themselves. “Pomp and pageantry is the last thing he would want,” a source told Us Weekly. “I can see him wanting to get married at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It would stop it from turning into a total media circus and give the day a sense of privacy that Harry so badly craves.”

The source turns out to have been right: The pair are now officially set to wed at Windsor Castle in May, meaning they’re staying far clear of Westminster Abbey, which is usually the royal wedding venue of choice, as evidenced most recently by Kate Middleton and Prince William. (It was also where Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip back in 1947.)

But Middleton’s wedding, for example, drew a crowd of a million stretching from the abbey to Buckingham Palace, not to mention the 5,000 street parties that took place elsewhere across the U.K. (In case you’re wondering how all those Brits managed to take work off, their wedding day was actually an official bank holiday.) In other words, his brother’s ceremony sounds like the exact opposite of what Prince Harry has in mind, and the monarchy has his back on that: Downing Street has said there are “no plans” for a bank holiday to mark the occasion.

Windsor Castle, which is about an hour and a half away from London, has less than half the capacity than the abbey—800, compared to 2,000—and is a “very special place” for the couple, who “regularly spent time there over the last year and a half” and are “grateful to The Queen for granting permission for the use of the Chapel,” according to Prince Harry’s spokesperson.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been a couple officially since November 2016 and are due to marry in Spring 2018.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their first public pictures as a couple at Invictus Games Toronto.

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Actress Meghan Markle leaves the “Today Show” taping at NBC Rockefeller Center on July 14.

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Actress Meghan Markle enters the “Today Show” taping at NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on July 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

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Actress Meghan Markle attends the Instagram Dinner held at the MARS Discovery District on May 31, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

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Meghan Markle attends Glamour and L’Oreal Paris Celebrate 2016 College Women Of The Year at NoMad Hotel Rooftop on April 27, 2016 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends P.S. Arts’ The pARTy at NeueHouse Hollywood on May 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

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Actress Meghan Markle attends AOL Build Presents “Suits” at AOL Studios In New York on March 17, 2016 in New York City.

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – JANUARY 20: Actress Meghan Markle attends ELLE’s 6th Annual Women In Television Dinner at Sunset Tower Hotel on January 20, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for ELLE)

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Meghan Markle attends the 12th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios on November 2, 2015 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends the Prada presents The Iconoclasts with Michael Wilkinson and Tim Martin event during the 2015 New York fashion week. Photo by BFAnyc.com.

Meghan Markle attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 13th Annual An Enduring Vision Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on October 28, 2014 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends Wes Gordon runway show during MADE Fashion Week Fall 2015 at Milk Studios on February 13, 2015 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends the UK Premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at Odeon Leicester Square on November 11, 2013 in London, England.

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NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 08: Model Meghan Markle poses backstage at the Herve Leger By Max Azria fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 at The Theatre at Lincoln Center on February 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

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Meghan Markle attends the London Global Gift Gala at ME Hotel on November 19, 2013 in London, England.

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Meghan Markle attends the Tory Burch fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2013 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends the Novak Djokovic Foundation New York dinner at Capitale on September 10, 2013 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends the Gala Tribute To Cate Blanchett during the 51st New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on October 2, 2013 in New York City.

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Megan Markle arrives on the red carpet at the 2013 MuchMusic Video Awards at Bell Media Headquarters on June 16, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.

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Meghan Markle attends USA Network 2013 Upfront Event at Pier 36 on May 16, 2013 in New York City.

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Meghan Markle attends the ELLE’s Women in Television Celebration at Soho House on January 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California.

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Meghan Markle arrives at NBC Universal’s 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards after party held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Meghan Markle attends The Paley Center for Media’s presentation of An Evening With “Suits” at The Paley Center for Media on January 14, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Meghan Markle arrives at the GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on November 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

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Meghan Markle attends TV Guide Magazine’s 2012 Hot List Party at SkyBar at the Mondrian Los Angeles on November 12, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

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Meghan Markle attends the HBO Luxury Lounge Featuring L’Oreal Paris And New Era Cap – Day 1 at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles on January 14, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Meghan Markle arrives at the 13th Annual InStyle And The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Toronto International Film Festival Party at the Windsor Arms Hotel on September 11, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.

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Meghan Markle attends the USA Network’s and The Moth’s Storytelling Tour “A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power” at the Pacific Design Center on February 15, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

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“The couple, of course, want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family,” the rep continued, though it seems like they’ve warmed to the idea of opening it to the masses, too, as he noted that both Prince Harry and Markle “are extremely grateful for the warm public response following yesterday’s announcement of their engagement.” That could be why they now “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.”

Achieving it will definitely be easier said than done. Sure, Prince Edward had a much more toned-down wedding to his wife Sophie in the chapel in 1999, managing to avoid making it a “state occasion” by having no politicians present—including even the prime minister, Tony Blair. Still, their wedding was hardly out of the public eye: It drew crowds of about 30,000 people, and was broadcast to an estimated 200 million around the world. Presumably, then, Prince Harry and Markle won’t shy from live coverage, or at least video footage of the the ceremony, which Harry’s spokesperson promised “will be a moment of fun and joy.”

It’s largely up to the couple to ensure that, as they’re the ones “leading the planning process for all aspects of the wedding.” Here’s hoping Markle calls up her close friend Serena Williams, who definitely knows how to keep a wedding fun while maintaining a proper level of respect and security for the royals in attendance: Present at her recent Beauty and the Beast-themed ceremony in New Orleans was none other than HRH Beyoncé.

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