The Royal Wedding 2018 || Thoroughly Modern Meghan
In November of last year, in a very similar Royal Wedding commentary to this one, I discussed the biggest question on everyone’s lips: “will we get a bank holiday?” Now the wedding day is almost upon us, the main question has evolved into “will Thomas Markle walk his daughter down the aisle, or will he even turn up?!” if you ask me, this is all starting to feel more like an episode of Suits than a royal event. And I’m loving every second.
In a dramatic twist that Kris Jenner would fall over herself to orchestrate as a PR stunt for Keeping Up With The Kardashians, it turns out those photos of Mr Markle sitting in an internet cafe poring over news articles of his daughter and HRH were actually staged to be sold to the paparazzi for thousands of pounds. After reporting that he didn’t want to embarrass his daughter by attending the wedding it remains to be seen whether or not he will walk her down the aisle this Saturday.
Perhaps the dramatic lead-up to May 19th has all the hallmarks of a modern and contemporary Royal Wedding. And it’s this less-traditional stance that will really stand the younger Prince’s wedding apart from the rest of the family’s.
Firstly, comes the decision to have the wedding take place on a Saturday when the previous Royal Weddings have all been held during the week, which means that this time more of the British public can hole up on their sofa with copious amounts of tea and watch the proceedings unfold. Although, if Kate and Wills’ wedding is anything to go by, a certain rear shot of the bridesmaid will take up most of the air time. In a decidedly un-British fashion it has been reported that the number of street parties being held in honour of Harry and Meghan is drastically lower than those which lined the streets back in 2010 for Wills and Kate. So if you are hosting one this year then make sure you buy extra Battenbergs in case the masses turn up. (Extra points if you refer to these as Mountbatten-bergs during the party!)
The guest list also sits at a much smaller number than when Kate married William at Westminster Cathedral in front of 1,900 invitees. Harry and Meghan have selectively chosen 600 to witness their vows with more of a focus on spending time with friends and family during the event. As Harry is sixth in line to the throne, he is not obligated to invite State leaders and diplomats to their special day which also explains the decision not to invite Theresa May or Donald Trump. Although, celebrity sightings will not be in short supply with the likes of Elton John, Cara Delevigne, Ed Sheeran, and The Beckhams said to have received an invite.
Meghan’s outfit is currently the most closely-guarded secret out of all of the wedding day details and bets are being placed on London dress designers left, right and centre. Ralph & Russo are currently the favourites in the lead, closely followed by Erdem, Burberry, Stella McCartney and Roland Mouret. My money has been on Erdem from the minute their wedding date was confirmed via Twitter by Kensington Palace - can this get any more millennial?! - given that the brand reflects her personality which will no doubt be a key factor influencing her choice. The dress fit for a (legitimate) princess apparently costs £100,000 but it has been confirmed that Miss Markle will be fronting the cost of both this gown and her evening outfit choice. Now if that’s not a shout-out to 2018 women doing it for themselves then I don’t know what is!
Even their chosen flavour of cake is a dissent from the ordinary; another carefully chosen feature that strides out with independence from current trends. The lemon and elderflower creation is being created by Violet Cakes and will no doubt trigger the UK’s first lemon drizzle shortage in the week to follow the wedding. And, perhaps as a nod to Meghan’s time in showbiz, the couple are shunning the typical format of a wedding breakfast and will be serving bowl food and canapes to the 600 guests that will attend the afternoon reception. In all honesty, she’s a far better woman than me if she can juggle a glass of champagne in one hand and bowl of food in the other… whilst wearing a white dress *gulps*.
Truth be told, I really do admire Harry and Meghan for breaking away from the mould, refusing to cave into traditionalist and royalist pressure, and really planning a day that represents who they are as a couple. Their choices neglect the formalities that other royal weddings have succumbed to, and this ensures they will celebrate a day that celebrates the love and life they have together.
But, perhaps, the thing that I admire most about this Royal Wedding is Meghan’s decision to choose the words of her vows very carefully. As a UN ambassador, she is known for empowering women and instilling in them the belief that they are more than just a dutiful wife or daughter. To this end, she will choose to read her vows from the Series One Book Of Common Prayer, which allows the bride to drop the line where she agrees to “obey” and “serve” her husband when accepting his hand in marriage.
As a big fan of weddings that embrace change and personality, I’m all in favour of a citrus twist on a wedding cake and fully support their innovative style of catering, but what’s really different about this thoroughly modern marriage is the couple’s clear intention towards an equal partnership. And on Saturday, amidst the Twitter updates, Instagram stories, and Daily Mail’s reporting, I hope we can all keep in mind that, really, that is exactly what it’s all about.