Harry and Meghan: where will they marry?
OK, you had a whole day off. After the Friday frenzy over whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are about to announce their engagement, Saturday was rather quiet on the will they wed front? That was yesterday. The Sunday papers are filled with yet more speculation about when they will wed - we all know it's going to happen, it's just a case of ticking the she said yes box publically and picking a date. Oh, and a venue. This handsome prince and his lovely bride have the whole of the UK to choose from but some venues are wriggling their way to the top of the desirable list. As Harry and Meghan dominate the news once more, here's a look at where they might wed....
News that the Castle will be closed to the public on April 20th (a Friday) with the State Apartments off bounds on April 19th and 21st has led to speculation that the wedding could take place then. It might also mean a State Visit is scheduled for that time or that the Queen is planning a huge party for her own birthday which falls on April 21st.
Whatever the reasons, Windsor has been a hot favourite for a royal wedding ever since it became clear that Harry and Meghan were for keeps. Firstly, it's following in dad's footsteps - Prince Charles wed Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9th 2005 followed by a religious blessing at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Secondly, it's been pretty popular with the Windsors full stop. Harry's uncle, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys Jones there in 1999 while the groom's first cousin cousin, Peter Phillips, also said 'I do' at St. George's when he wed Autumn Kelly there in 2008. And Queen Victoria's children loved it as a marriage venue with Harry's great, great, great grandparents, Edward VII and Alexandra, getting wed there in 1863.
Windsor has all the grandeur of a major royal residence (not surprising since the royals have been hanging out there for about 1000 years) in a country setting. And for the handsome prince of the Hosue of Windsor, where could be more appropriate for a fairytale wedding?
The Archbishop of Canterbury has given his go ahead for a religious marriage - questions had been asked because Meghan is divorced, her first marriage ending several years ago now. And if you think royals and church wedding, you think Westminster Abbey. It's been has been the go to wedding venue for the House of Windsor for almost a century now.
Where to start with the list of weddings? William and Kate, obviously, back in 2011 while Princess Anne and the Duke of York both wed there. And after a week of gorging on Royal Platinum Wedding stories, we all know that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh exchanged vows there in 1947 as did King George VI and his own Queen Elizabeth in 1923. It's a real wedding hub right now even though it hadn't been used for a regal marriage for centuries before Princess Patricia of Connaught picked it for her ceremony in 1919.
Familiar, traditional, slap bang in the middle of London and just a short carriage ride from Buckingham Palace. What's not to love?
The same could be said of St. Paul's Cathedral which is also being tipped a possible weding venue. The Wren masterpiece ticks all the royal boxes and means that Harry could marry somewhere different from his big brother which is always a plus for siblings.
The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer surprised quite a few people when they decided to wed at St Paul's in July 1981 but the sad associations at the end of the marriage might be enough to send Harry and Meghan on a swerve from this historic building. But, on the other hand, it's been used for several major royal thanksgiving celebrations in recent times.
But sometimes it pays to think outside the royal box so to really get the imagination going, here are three more unusual suggestions for the latest regal wedding...
The couple are tipped to become Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they get married and Chichester has a claim as the main town of that county. It also has a rather fine cathedral, begun in the 11th century, which would accommodate a small-ish royal wedding with ease. It's also the only cathedral in England which can be seen from the sea which will give the commentators plenty to talk about if the bride keeps them waiting.
Once upon a time, your average royal couple wanting to spend the rest of their lives together while doing the whole keeping up the dynasty thing headed to St. James for a wedding ceremony decked in orange blossom. The Royal Court is still officially based at St. James' Palace so it's ticking plenty of regal boxes.
The Chapel here also has plenty of regal wedding history. The future George II married his consort, Caroline of Ansbach, there. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wed there as did their eldest daughter, Victoria, and the future King George V and Queen Mary. George and Mary's third son, Prince Henry, also got married there - his wedding to Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott took place in November 1935.
But here's the rub. Alice and Henry were originally meant to get wed at Westminster Abbey and changed to St James when the bride's father sadly passed away. It's small for a modern royal wedding and much more low key. But then that might be just what Harry and Meghan are looking for.
For a completely off piste suggestion, let's keep it all in Harry's back garden. He and Meghan are currently living at his cottage in Kensington Palace and that royal landmark is now licensed for civil marriages. Should this very modern royal couple want to buck tradition, they could make like 75% of all the other couples in England and Wales who say 'I do' and opt for a civil wedding. The Orangery is licensed for wedings but comes with the small downside of only seating 150 people for the ceremony itself. Still, it would be a link with Harry's mother, Diana, forever associated with Kensington and it would really put the modern seal on this very modern royal marriage.
Where do you think Meghan and Harry will get married? It would be great to hear from you in the comments section below....
All photos from Wiki Commons.