News | International
28 May 2018 15:05
NZCity News
NZCity CalculatorReturn to NZCity

  • Start Page
  • Personalise
  • Sport
  • Weather
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Jobs
  • Horoscopes
  • Lotto Results
  • Photo Gallery
  • Site Gallery
  • TVNow
  • Dating
  • SearchNZ
  • NZSearch
  • RugbyLeague
  • Make Home
  • About NZCity
  • Contact NZCity
  • Your Privacy
  • Advertising
  • Login
  • Join for Free

  •   Home > News > International

    Royal wedding: Inside St George's Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry

    It will be tight fit for the 600 guests inside the historic chapel but more than 2 billion people are expected to tune in to watch Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle this Saturday.

    Meghan Markle is bound to be the star of her wedding day.

    But as she walks up the red carpeted stairs of St George's Chapel, she will be stepping into one of England's most precious historic chapels.

    The word "chapel" barely does it justice.

    Steeped in history, it has seen weddings, christenings, funerals and blessings over its 500-year existence.

    Building of the current chapel was started by Edward IV in 1475 and completed 53 years later in 1528 under the watch of Henry VIII, who was later buried there.

    It was the venue for the wedding of Harry's uncle Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and a service of dedication and prayer was held there after the civil marriage between his father Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005.

    The chapel is also the final resting places for monarchs, with 10 British sovereigns interred there, including the six times-married Henry VIII.

    But none of those factors have attracted the kind of attention Prince Harry and United States actress Meghan Markle are bringing.

    The small town of Windsor will be a hive of activity, with more than 100,000 people expected to descend to get their dose of royal wedding fever.

    While there will be fewer guests compared to the last royal wedding — 600 compared to Prince William and Kate Middleton's 1,900 guests at Westminster Abbey in 2011 — the estimated global TV audience is set to be bigger, with more than 2 billion expected to tune in.

    Why Windsor?

    The choice of the more intimate St George's Chapel over Westminster Abbey is about more than just size.

    Prince Harry and Ms Markle secretly spent time in Windsor during their 16-month romance, and Harry's communications secretary Jason Knauf said it was a "very special place" for the couple.

    Prince Harry was christened there in December 1984.

    It is also a very special place to his grandmother, the Queen, according to local historian Leslie Grout.

    "St George's is one that one associates more with the royal family these days, I mean Windsor Castle is essentially the Queen's home," Mr Grout, 71, said.

    "She spent her early years in Windsor and although she's got a number of residences, this is very much her special place.

    "So it's bound to have that extra bit to it that the Abbey doesn't have."

    Despite its fabled history, it only became a serious venue for weddings during Queen Victoria's reign in the 1800s, beginning with her 21-year-old son Edward.

    Mr Grout, who won the long-running British quiz show Mastermind in 1981 for his knowledge of the chapel, said it was the first royal wedding there since Henry I in 1121.

    "Henry I married his second wife in an earlier chapel within the castle, but we don't know where exactly that stood or how big it was," he said.

    "Then there wasn't another royal wedding until 1863 when the future Edward VII married Princess Alexandria of Denmark."

    The popular choice for royal weddings had been the chapel inside St James's Palace in London.

    "A lot of royal marriages, certainly in the early 19th century, took place at the Chapel Royal at St James's," Mr Grout said.

    "It is a royal chapel, but they can't have had many people there because it's not a particularly big place.

    "But certainly Queen Victoria was married there."

    Inside the chapel

    Mr Grout expects it will be a tight fit for the 600 guests invited to the ceremony.

    "I would imagine they will have some television screens in the nave, because those people sitting in the nave will see them [Harry and Meghan] come in and see them go out, but you've got the big quire screen in the way and you won't see anything there," he said.

    "But I would imagine, as they've done on previous occasions, they will have TV screens in the nave put up so people can see what's going on."

    Uninvited guests

    With more than 900 years of history in Windsor Castle itself, and with the chapel being the final resting place of some of history's most famous figures, there are many stories of haunted halls and spectres stirring in the night.

    But Mr Grout, a chapel steward for over 40 years, was quick to shoot them down.

    "None have got any basis to them," he said.

    "There's all sorts of stories of hauntings in the castle, but they're not in the least bit reliable most of them."

    After the ceremony

    Outside the chapel 2,640 chosen members of the public will be allowed inside the castle walls to get a first glimpse of the bridge and groom after the ceremony.

    At 1pm once outside the chapel, the new couple will board an Ascot Landau carriage pulled by Windsor Grey horses for their procession through the town before returning to Windsor Castle via the Long Walk, a straight tree-lined path.

    The procession will be shepherded by a travelling Escort of the Household Calvary Mounted Regiment and the round trip is expected to take around 25 minutes.

    Prince Harry and Ms Markle are said to be looking forward to this part of the event which, according to a statement, "they hope will allow them to express their gratitude for everyone that has gathered together in Windsor to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day".

    After the procession the 600 invited guests will attend a lunchtime reception in St George's Hall inside the castle.

    Later in the day 200 guests will head to Frogmore House for the evening reception, which is expected to be a lively affair not attended by the Queen or Prince Philip.

    When all the festivities wind down Prince Harry and Ms Markle will retire to Windsor Castle for their first night as a married couple.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

     Other International News
     28 May: United Nations admits #MeToo but critics say it's not doing enough to address sexual harassment
     28 May: Thai Buddhist monks' health suffering from sugary drinks
     28 May: Medical bills: How out-of-pocket costs can get out of control
     27 May: Sesame Street sues R-rated muppet movie, The Happytime Murders, for tarnishing good name
     27 May: Two members of the NZ Defence Force have been injured in attacks in New Caledonia this weekend
     27 May: The art of fake news: The Indonesian artist fooling the world with his photos
     27 May: Ireland abortion referendum: What happens next after yes vote?
     Top Stories

    An eye-opening experience for Julian Savea More...

    Shoppers at a west Auckland retail complex complain their cars are being clamped after being parked for just 30 minutes in spaces signposted for 120 minutes More...

     Today's News

    An eye-opening experience for Julian Savea 14:56

    Nikki Bella didn't feel "excited" about trying on wedding dresses 14:55

    Karen Gillan feels “inspired” by Tilda Swinton 14:25

    Sonny Bill Williams isn't the only New Zealand Super Rugby player fasting during Ramadan 14:06

    Law and Order:
    Police are at James Cook High School in Manurewa investigating an assault that's put a student in hospital 13:56

    Kanye West paid $85,000 to use a photograph of Whitney Houston's bathroom full of drug paraphernalia for Pusha-T's album 13:55

    Shoppers at a west Auckland retail complex complain their cars are being clamped after being parked for just 30 minutes in spaces signposted for 120 minutes 13:46

    Law and Order:
    Police are at James Cook High School in Manurewa investigating an assault that has put a student in hospital 13:36

    Christine Lampard doesn't want to find out the sex of her baby 13:25

    Living & Travel:
    The off-road motorbike park in west Auckland where a man was hurt over the weekend is closed today and tomorrow 13:16

     News Search

    Power Search

    © 2018 New Zealand City Ltd