(Telegraph) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to marry in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May, it has been announced, as it was revealed they are planning the wedding themselves.
Ms Markle, a protestant who went to a Catholic high school, will be both baptised and confirmed ready for the religious ceremony. She also intends to become a British citizen.
The Royal family will pay for the wedding – including the church service, the music, the flowers and the reception, Kensington Palace said. The couple want a “fun” wedding to make the public feel involved in a ceremony that is likely to be televised.
The newly-engaged couple’s choice of venue was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon – the day after they publicly shared their love story.
It was also revealed that Prince Harry and Ms Markle will carry out their first official engagement together at an Aids charity in Nottingham on Friday. They are planning as many engagements around the UK as possible before the wedding.
Prince Harry’s communication’s secretary, Jason Knauf, said Windsor was a “very special place” for Harry, and that he and Ms Markle had spent time there together during their 16-month romance.
He said the couple were delighted to be holding the wedding in the “beautiful grounds of Windsor”.
Mr Knauf said the couple, who were grateful for the warm wishes from the public, would be putting their stamp on their wedding day.
He said: “The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family.
“They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved.
“This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom.
“Prince Harry and Ms Markle are leading the planning process for all aspects of the wedding.”
Mr Knauf added: “We look forward to sharing these details with you in the months ahead as decisions are made.
“As was the case with the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Family will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service, the associated music, flowers, decorations, and the reception afterwards.”
Prince George and Princess Charlotte have also been introduced to their soon-to-be new aunt.
Mr Knauf said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children had met Ms Markle on many occasions.
The month chosen for the nuptials, which will be paid for by the Royal family, means the couple will avoid clashing with several high-profile events in April.
The Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth to her third child in April and the Queen will also be busy with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is being hosted in London and Windsor in mid-April.
St George’s Chapel is a smaller venue for the church wedding than Westminster Abbey, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wed, or St Paul’s Cathedral, where Harry’s parents married.
But Prince Harry, who is fifth-in-line to the throne, and Ms Markle are following in the footsteps of generations of royals.
St George’s Chapel dates back more than 500 years and has been the traditional venue for royal weddings ever since the future King Edward VII married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863.
More recently, Prince Harry’s uncle Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, married Sophie Rhys-Jones – now the Countess of Wessex – there in 1999.
Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, married Autumn Kelly in the chapel in 2008.
The Prince of Wales also celebrated his marriage to the Duchess of Cornwall there in 2005 with a service of dedication and prayer led by then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Tucked away in Windsor Castle, it is a more low-key venue than central London alternatives Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral, with a capacity of 800 compared to the Abbey’s 2,000.
The product of centuries of spectacular architectural and artistic development, it welcomes more than a million visitors a year and holds daily services for the devout.
In the lower ward of the castle, its long history has seen it become one of the Royal Family’s key places of worship, with monarchs and their consorts worshipping, marrying, and being buried there for generations.
The annual service of thanksgiving for the Order of the Garter takes place there, often attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.
While its original building dates back to the 13th century, the chapel as seen today began with King Edward IV in 1483, who started the building works before being buried with his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, in the north east corner.
The building programme was continued by King Henry VI, who is also buried there.
The chapel was finally completed in 1528 during the reign of King Henry VIII, another incumbent. His sixth wife Catherine Parr is said to have watched his funeral from a wooden oriel window build on his instructions.
Other monarchs buried there are Charles I, George III, George IV, William IV, Edward VII, George V and George VI.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle received more well wishes on Tuesday from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
On a visit to the Foundling Museum in central London, the Duchess said she and William were “absolutely thrilled”, adding: “We wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment.”
Harry revealed on Monday in a television interview to celebrate their engagement how “the stars were aligned” when he fell for the American actress.
The couple, who have been dating for just 16 months, told how they met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.
Former Suits star Ms Markle told how she could not wait to say “yes” to the prince when Harry got down on one knee a few weeks ago as they cooked a roast chicken dinner at his home, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.
Indicating the depths of his feeling for his bride-to-be, the prince said: “The fact that I fell in love with Meghan so incredibly quickly was sort of confirmation to me that everything, all the stars were aligned, everything was just perfect.
“It was this beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life.”
A few months into the relationship, Harry said he had to have “some pretty frank conversations” with his girlfriend about how her life may change when she entered the royal family.
He added: “But I know that at the end of the day she chooses me, and I choose her, and therefore whatever we have to tackle together or individually we’ll always be us together as a team, so I think she’s capable … she’s capable of anything.”
The couple told the BBC’s Mishal Husain how Ms Markle had met the Queen twice, an individual she described as an “incredible woman”.
Ms Markle was also a big hit with the Queen’s beloved corgis, with the prince joking: “I’ve spent the last 33 years being barked at; this one walks in, absolutely nothing …”
Harry praised the support of the pair’s families and said he believed his bride-to be and mother Diana, Princess of Wales would have been “thick as thieves, without question”.
Ms Markle’s engagement ring features diamonds from Diana’s personal collection, and a stone from one of their favourite places, Botswana.
Ms Markle will become an HRH and a senior royal after marrying Harry and joining the Windsors.
She is expected to become a duchess, as Kate Middleton did when she became the Duchess of Cambridge after saying her vows in 2011.
This article was posted in its entirety as received by www.onecaribbeannetwork.com. One Caribbean Network does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed are not necessarily those of One Caribbean Network, its sponsors or advertisers.