As the whole world knows, the royal wedding between Price Harry, aka Prince Henry of Wales, the second son of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle will take place tomorrow, Saturday, at 12:00 pm London time at St. George Chapel at Windsor Castle. Probably, much, if not most, of the civilized world will be glued to their tv sets so as not to miss even the most insignificant part of the nuptials.
For the most part, I have not been a big fan of the Royal family’s comings and goings. I have nothing against most of them, personally. My main interest in the Royals has been the manner in which they have impacted history, particularly the more notable rulers, such as King Henry VIII and Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, to name a few. As for the rest of it, for example, their exalted and privileged status and station in life due to an accident of birth, the overly lavish lifestyle, the celebrity status, all the pomp and circumstance and suffocating protocols and etiquette, I just don’t see the relevance in the 21st century. In short, to me they are an anachronism.
All that said, I am interested in the Royal Wedding because of Meghan Markel. I enjoyed watching her performances on the TV hit series, Suits (2011-2018), and I am intrigued by the fact that she is a “commoner” (Incidentally, I really hate that term. It conjures up class distinctions and tells you all you need to know about monarchies and why they’re passe.), an American, and a person of “mixed race heritage” as Wikipedia so delicately puts it, As most of you know by now, she will be the second American and the first person of “mixed race heritage” to marry into the British royal family.
So, who is Meghan Markel, and how did she get to where she is? Glad you asked. Read on.
Meghan Markel was born on August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles. Her father is Caucasian and, interestingly, according to Wikipedia, is a distant relative of England’s King Edward, III. Her father was in the entertainment business peripherally. He was a lighting director in daytime TV and actually won a Daytime Emmy. Her mom, an African American, was a social worker and yoga instructor. They divorced when Meghan was six.
She graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a degree in international studies and theatre. She married Trevor Engelson in 2011. They divorced in 2013.
Meghan is more than merely an actress, although that is how she is best known. To put it bluntly, before Suits, however, her acting career was mostly nondescript. It consisted of small, forgettable roles in forgotten movies and single-episode appearances on tv series. For example, in 2005’s movie A Lot Like Love she played a “passenger on a plane.”
In her other endeavors, Meghan was a counsellor for “One Young World,” an international charity that advocates gender equality and derides “modern-day slavery.” In addition, she was founder and editor-in-chief of The Tig, a lifestyle website. Furthermore, in partnership with Reitmans, a Canadian clothing company, she distributed a line of women’s fashion work wear.
Some fun facts regarding the royal couple nuptials, most of which those of you who are ardent “royal watchers” probably already know:
- Harry and Meghan met on a blind date.
- The Saturday wedding is a break with tradition in that such events have usually been held on a weekday. Traditionally, the weekday wedding days have been designated as “Bank holidays,” but this Saturday has not.
- In a nice gesture, the royal couple has requested that, in lieu of traditional gifts, guests should make donations to one of various designated charities.
- Due to Meghan’s father’s illness Price Charles will walk her down the aisle.
- Prince William will be the best man. The couple has selected the children of various friends and relatives to act as pages and bridesmaids.
- Due to the small venue, the guest list will be limited to 600, roughly 1/3 of the number, for instance, that attended the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1947. These are people who have a “close” and “direct” relationship with the couple. In addition, since Harry is “merely” 6th in the line of succession to the throne, protocol dictated that it was not required to invite political leaders and Heads of State, and so most of them were omitted.
- Since Harry is one of the six persons in the line of succession both Queen Elizabeth and the Church had to give their approvals, which they did. In case you’re interested, the Church no longer denies permission to a divorced person with a living spouse. Meghan was baptized into the Church in March and is in the process of becoming a British citizen. It has not been determined if she will retain her US citizenship.
- It is estimated that the wedding will cost 500,000 pounds (approximately $673,000), which, thankfully, will be covered by the Royal Family.
- In addition to the reception for those attending the ceremony there will be a larger one for family and other close friends and a carriage procession, which will be viewed by selected people.
This will be a real rarity for all you “royal watchers,” many of whom will rise in the wee hours tomorrow so as not to miss anything. Others may watch bits and pieces, here and there. Still others will take a “bah humbug” approach and watch reruns or old movies.
Finally, for those of you that are interested, some etiquette tips for the guests courtesy of Town and Country and its panel of etiquette experts:
- One expert advises ladies to cover their heads; another one said “hats are encouraged, but not required.” Good luck with that.
- Ladies, no bare legs.
- Heels should be moderate, but not too high.
- Don’t wear white.
- Many men will wear a “morning suit” whatever that is, but if not, a conservative suit, grey or navy, would be appropriate. Avoid garish waistcoats or accessories.
- Bow and curtsy properly.
So, now you can eagerly watch for etiquette faux pas. Enjoy the show.