Royal Wedding Bingo
A kiss might be just a kiss but that smacker between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at a polo match this weekend has upped the royal romance stakes and then some. Never mind the ifs. let's cut to the wedding whens. The tea towels are all but on the shelves. You've got to love a little bit of royal wedding fever and right now there's plenty to go round. If you need some help to channel all that excitement about a possible engagement, why not try Royal Wedding Bingo. It's harmless, it's fun, there are no prizes and if we are all wrong about these two (we're not) then you can keep the card for the next time round. Get ready to shout 'House' in your best royal accent....
It's simple enough to play. There's a card above with six categories to help predict just how this (potential) royal wedding might unfold and a quick guide below to help get you started. Once we're sat watching the (possible but we all think inevitable) marriage eating Pringles (low fat options available), you can complete the ticks or crosses on your box. The prize is being totally smug about knowing so much about royalty that you got all your predictions were right. Let's play bingo....
1. Engagement date
Until this weekend, all engagement signs for Harry and Meghan seemed to point to the autumn but their latest appearances and the fact that it seems they're headed to Pippa Middleton's wedding on May 20th together has got everyone very excited indeed. But before you put the bunting up, check the calendar. The royals like to spread their news around and the summer is looking busy already. Harry's off to Singapore and Sydney in June, there's a State Visit in July and August isn't just holiday time this year, it's also when Prince Philip retires from official duties while the end of that month will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Autumn is pretty packed too with President Trump's controversial State Visit set for then. The couple could follow William and Kate's example and wait until winter is almost upon us for the big anno. But remember that Harry is due in Meghan's current home city of Toronto in September for Invictus 2017 meaning plenty of chances for hand holding, loved up photos. But will there be a ring by then? Write your date pick in box one then start thinking sparkle....
2. Engagement ring - old or new?
Would Harry head to the jewellers to pick up a new ring for Meghan or will the current fifth in line to the throne raid the royal bling vaults? William, of course, gave Kate his mother's ring which Diana had chosen herself on her engagement in 1981. The Queen's own engagement ring was a mix of old and new, a fresh design made up of diamonds taken from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother, Alice of Battenberg. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward bought new for their brides as did Harry's cousin, Peter Phillips, while Zara's hubby, Mike Tindall, helped design her engagement ring. Charles presented Camilla with a royal treasure from the past on their engagement using a ring that had belonged to his grandmother, the Queen Mother. So that's question number two - old or new ring for Harry's bride?
3. Engagement ring - the stone
Yes, there will be diamonds but will they be bringing friends to a royal engagement party hosted by Harry and Meghan? Royal grooms have a habit of adding a bit of colour to the rings they present at engagements. We know all about Diana's sapphire already while the Duke of York gave Sarah Ferguson a ruby, marching her famous red hair. Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands chose an orange diamond (what else?) for Maxima on their engagement in 2001 while Queen Mathilde was presented with a major ruby on her betrothal. Denmark's royals have gone one step further with flag colours on engagement rings - US born, Canadian resident Meghan might want to take a pass on that one or end up with a Christmas tree to flash at us all. But the royal whose style perhaps best matches Meghan's is Queen Letizia of Spain who was presented with a very modern eternity ring design featuring nothing but baguette cut diamonds on her engagement in 2003. So box three needs one word to name the stone you think will feature most prominently in any Harry/Meghan engagement ring.
4. Wedding date
Warning, this may involve maths. Royal weddings tend to follow about 6 months after an engagement so if you're going the traditional route then do some sums and pop your result in box four. But bear in mind the royal calendar - November sees the 70th anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip's wedding and another marriage at that point might overshadow celebrations. December is rare for modern regal brides as there's the whole matter of getting quite a lot of royal guests over for the party and all those Christmas speeches and celebrations tend to get in the way. April - July is usually the most popular royal wedding time and there's nothing to say that Harry and Meghan might buck tradition and have a long engagement. Willem-Alexander and Maxima of the Netherlands waited almost a year between engagement and marriage, as did Carl Philip and Sofia of Sweden. So pick your royal wedding date and pop it into box four.
5. Wedding location
Where would Harry and Meghan get married? We know there would most likely be a church involved somewhere but that's where it gets slightly more complicated. Meghan is divorced which would indicate some kind of civil marriage before a church blessing. But Meghan is also Catholic. If we think back to 2004, Spain's royals found themselves in a similar situation. As Letizia's first marriage had been a civil one, the Catholic Church permitted a religious wedding for her and Felipe. Putting all that aside, if we're talking register office followed by blessing then the example of Charles and Camilla springs to mind with Windsor Guildhall followed by St George's Chapel high up the list. But Kensington Palace now has a licence for civil marriages which could mean a discreet little legal ceremony there followed by a religious service at one of the usual royal wedding haunts like Westminster Abbey. Alternatively, there are thousands of civil marriage venues in the UK now, including castles, palaces and even barns with royal links. Would this very modern royal couple get wed in a totally alternative venue? Take your pick and pop it into box five.
6. Title after marriage
On saying 'I do', Meghan become an HRH but what follows next? The way things stand right now she would become Princess Henry of Wales but we all know that the Queen is rather fond of dishing out titles to her children and grandchildren on their wedding days because toasters and slow cookers are so 1970s. The always brilliant Marlene Koenig at Royal Musings most likely has this one sorted for you. She's predicting Harry will be made Duke of Sussex on his wedding day. There's also a vacancy in Cumberland but the last incumbent was nicknamed Butcher and that's taking the romance off anything. Pick a title, any title, and pop it into box six. I mean, royal wedding bingo is a totally normal way to spend a Monday so why not?
Keep your card and let's wait and see. Royal Wedding Fever Season is now officially open...