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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding - 10 magical details and best photos

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex got married on 19 May 2018 in front of guests such as Idris Elba and George Clooney

Meghan Markle kissing Prince Harry, in the car with her mother Doria Ragland and exiting her ceremony at St George's Chapel© Getty
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
April 1, 2024
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Windsor was awash with flags, bunting and cheering crowds as fans descended on the British town to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's highly-anticipated royal wedding on Saturday 19 May 2018.

Among the thousands of guests at St George's Chapel were Prince Harry's close family, including the late Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, King Charles, Prince William and Princess Kate, who made her first official appearance since welcoming son Prince Louis three weeks beforehand.

While the royal tot did not join his parents, his older siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte did have important roles at the wedding. Join us as we look back at the best photos of the young bridesmaids and page boys, Meghan's resplendent two wedding dresses, and behind-the-scenes photos of the royals partying at the evening reception with A-list performers…

Meghan Markle's wedding veil had a scalloped edge to match Princess Diana's tiara© Getty

The wedding outfits

The former Suits actress looked radiant in her bespoke gown by Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller, which featured a bateau neckline, a fitted bodice and three-quarter sleeves. The designer revealed it was the perfect symbol of Meghan's "effortless American style," and described it as: "Not overly feminine, but not really minimal either."

Meghan Markle wore sheer foundation that showed off her freckles on her wedding day© Getty

She teamed it with the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara, loaned by the late Queen Elizabeth II, and an intricate five-metre-long silk tulle veil with hand-embroidered flowers which took 3,900 hours to create.

prince william prince harry wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Harry donned full military uniform – the black frockcoat uniform of the Blues and Royals – which he believed was "one of the smartest household cavalry uniforms", he said in the 'A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex' exhibit in Windsor. "It's one of my favourites, and I was very fortunate to be able to wear that on the day." The Duke also rocked facial hair, which was a point of contention between himself and Prince William, he revealed in his book Spare.

WATCH: Meghan Markle's wedding guests' real thoughts on her wedding day

Idris Elba holding hands with wife Sabrina with Oprah Winfrey in the background© Getty

Celebrity wedding guests

From 9.30 am, the 600 guests began trickling into St George's Chapel to take their seats for the ceremony, including Meghan's former Suits co-stars, Prince Harry's ex-girlfriends Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas, Serena Williams, and Idris Elba, who later DJ'd at their reception.

Amal and George Clooney at the wedding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018© Getty

George and Amal Clooney were also among the high-profile guests for the big day. Amal wowed in a vibrant yellow Stella McCartney dress and matching hat, while George looked smart in a grey suit.

David Victoria Beckham royal wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Victoria Beckham entered the chapel hand-in-hand with husband David. The fashion designer looked stunning in a dress from her own collection, while David looked equally dapper in a smart suit.

Oprah Winfrey arrives royal wedding© Photo: PA

Oprah Winfrey waved to the crowds looking stylish in a pink fit-and-flare Stella McCartney dress and co-ordinating hat.

kate meghan wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Royal wedding guests

The Princess of Wales arrived in a car with her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The wedding marked her first official public appearance since the birth of her son Prince Louis in April.

Pippa Middleton in a green floral dress holding hands with James Matthews© Pool

Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton arrived alongside her siblings James and Pippa, who showed off a hint of baby bump in her The Fold dress and Jimmy Choo heels, as she walked alongside her husband James Matthews.

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie with their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn© CHRIS JACKSON

Other members of the royal family to attend the ceremony include Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie, who arrived with their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn. Sophie looked characteristically stylish in a Suzannah dress for the occasion.

Sarah Ferguson in a navy-blue mini dress© Pool

Waving to the crowds, Sarah Ferguson looked chic in a navy tailored coatdress with pink lapels and a coordinating hat.

Mike and Zara Tindall arrive at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle before the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018© Getty

Harry's cousin Zara Tindall, who was heavily pregnant with her second child, appeared in high spirits upon her arrival with her husband Mike wearing a stylish floral coatdress and heels.

Prince Andrew flanked by his two daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice© Pool

Prince Andrew arrived with daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie in tow. They were joined by Princess Eugenie's then-fiancé Jack Brooksbank, whom she married in the same chapel in October 2018.

Meghan Markle waving in the car with her Doria Ragland arrive for her wedding ceremony© Getty

Meghan Markle's mother Doria looked every inch the proud mum as she arrived at St George's Chapel, wearing a mint green Oscar de la Renta mother-of-the-bride ensemble.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle leave their wedding ceremony at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle© WPA Pool

Picturesque venue

Flowers and foliage surrounded the west door and lined the steps at St George’s Chapel, where the royal wedding ceremony was held. It was the work of florist Philippa Craddock, who used silver birch and English oak sourced locally, including some from Windsor Great Park. The florist said she was “hugely privileged” to have been given the job.

prince harry william wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Grand entrance

Prince Harry arrived with his best man Prince William at around 11.40 am, shortly before fans got their first glimpse at the beautiful bride Meghan Markle. The Duchess - who said she was "so calm" after enjoying a mimosa, a croissant and the song 'Going to the Chapel' - had travelled from Cliveden House to St George's Chapel with her mother Doria Ragland.

Meghan Markle walking up the steps at St George's Chapel in her wedding dress© WPA Pool

Meghan appeared poised and elegant as she made her way up the steps, followed by her bridesmaids and pageboys, including  Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Brian and John Mulroney - the twin sons of her best friend Jessica Mulroney.

meghan charles wedding© Photo: Getty Images

In photos released in the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, the royal and her new father-in-law exchanged a sweet moment as he prepared to walk her down the aisle in the absence of her father Thomas Markle.

Meghan Markle in St George's Chapel watched by royals including Queen Elizabeth II, the Princess Royal, and the Prince of Wales© Getty

The vows

The couple held hands as they said their vows in the ceremony, which was led by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Like Princess Diana and Princess Kate, Meghan chose traditional vows but omitted the word "obey".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanging rings© Getty

They exchanged rings, with Meghan opting for a simple gold band made out of the same Welsh gold from the Clogau mines as Queen Elizabeth, Princess Kate, Zara Tindall and other royal brides. It was a tradition that began in 1923 when King George VI married Queen Mother Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, Harry chose a modern, platinum design.

Newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss following their wedding ceremony© WPA Pool

The couple shared a kiss as they stood on the steps at the entrance to St George's Chapel following the ceremony.

A photo of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day in 2018© WPA Pool

Their getaway

Prince Harry and Meghan went on a carriage procession around Windsor. Thousands of fans had lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds, who waved and smiled as they travelled through the town and back up the Long Walk.

Meghan Markle wears a white halter neck gown at her 2018 with Prince Harry© WPA Pool

The couple were later pictured climbing into a silver-blue Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero, which had a number plate reading "190518" in recognition of their wedding date.

The Duke of Sussex looked emotional in his wedding speech© Netflix

Lunch reception

Newlyweds Harry and Meghan joined friends and family at a lunchtime reception at St George's Hall hosted by the late Queen. In photos shared on their Netflix docuseries, the Duke appeared moved to tears as he raised a glass with his new wife.

Harry and Meghan raise a toast on the balcony at their wedding reception© Netflix

One happier image showed Harry and Meghan standing on a balcony overlooking their guests with the Duke cheekily pointing a finger at someone in the crowd.

Elton John performed at Harry and Meghan's wedding reception© Netflix

Elton John sang 'Your Song' and 'Tiny Dancer' to crowds, with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland looking captivated by the performance. The singer later told CNN: "It was very, very wonderful to be there. To have a black gospel choir, a multiracial bride, a black cellist, who was wonderful, a preacher - it felt like a party, and it felt like progress had been made. Thank God, thank God."

Meghan Markle wore a Stella McCartney gown during her wedding day in 2018

The evening reception

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex headed to Frogmore House shortly after 7pm for their evening reception. Meghan had swapped her Givenchy gown for a halterneck, backless Stella McCartney gown, which she paired with Aquazzurra shoes with blue soles. Meanwhile, Prince Harry looked dapper in a tuxedo.

prince harry meghan wedding car© Photo: Getty Images

"I am so proud and honoured to have been chosen by the Duchess of Sussex to make her evening gown and represent British design," McCartney told WWD. "It has truly been one of the most humbling moments of my career."

Meghan Marke and Prince Harry dance at their wedding

The couple danced at their wedding reception to Wilson Pickett's 1966 hit “Land of 1000 Dances,” and watched fireworks over the lake.

white wedding cake on gold stand© Getty

Wedding cake

Four separate cakes on a tiered gold stand made up the royal wedding cake, which, with its summery lemon and elderflower flavour, was a break from the traditional fruit cake chosen by King Charles, Prince William and more royals. However, the confection did pay homage to Harry's royal roots with 10 bottles of elderflower syrup from the late Queen’s Sandringham estate, alongside 200 Amalfi lemons, creating the decadent taste.

Claire Ptak and head baker Izaak Adams putting the finishing touches on the cake © Getty

Made by Claire Ptak of East London bakery Violet, it was topped with Swiss meringue buttercream and covered in stunning white peonies and roses with green leaves. "Meghan, she specifically said to me, 'I don’t want to tell you what to do… the reason why I’ve chosen you is because I love your baking and your work and your point of view and your ethos'," Claire told Tatler.

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