Prince Harry, sixth in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth II to the British throne, and “Suits” star Meghan Markle will marry inside the ornate St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle on Saturday, surrounded by 600 of their closest friends, family and international dignitaries.
The event begins at 12 p.m. GMT — that’s 4 a.m. Pacific — on Saturday, but television coverage will begin much earlier that day, or Friday night, depending on your time zone. Soccer, er, football fans will be pleased to learn that the festivities will conclude well before the FA Cup Final that takes place the same day.
How and where do I watch?
If you have a TV, it’ll be hard to miss. The BBC simulcast will be the definitive purveyor of the festivities and will be carried by PBS, E! and BBC America. The big four networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — will also cover the event live, as will CNN and HLN, who will have journalists on site.
Notable broadcasts include HBO's comedic take with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon’s “The Royal Wedding Live With Cord and Tish!” The show streams on HBO Go and HBO Now at 4:30 a.m. and will air on the premium channel at 7:30 a.m. Pacific.
On Saturday, NBC’s “Today” show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will co-anchor “Today at the Royal Wedding” from 1:30 to 8 a.m. Pacific. Likewise, ABC News and "Good Morning America" will broadcast special, Windsor-set coverage from 2 to 7 a.m. Pacific on Saturday.
The palace has said that the wedding will be “guided by tradition” but will also be “one which reflects the personalities of Prince Harry and Ms. Markle.” The order of service will be announced the day of the wedding, but here’s what we know so far:
Wedding guests will arrive at Windsor Castle’s Round Tower by coach and will be seen walking in through the South Door of St. George’s Chapel between 9:30 and 11 a.m. local time (that’s 1:30 to 3 a.m. Pacific). Keep an eye out for all the fabulous fascinators and wedding hats sure to make entrances all their own.
Members of Britain’s royal family — including the queen; her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh; their son, Prince Charles (Harry’s dad); his siblings and many others — will begin arriving at 11:20 a.m. (3:20 a.m. Pacific) and enter the chapel through its Galilee Porch.
Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, will likely arrive at the chapel on foot and will enter through the West Steps so they can greet the 200 representatives from their various charities who will be gathered in the Horseshoe Cloister at the bottom of the steps.
Around that time, Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, are expected to depart from their overnight location, traveling by car through the Long Walk so that they can be seen by the public. Ragland is supposed to part ways with her daughter once they reach the castle. Rumor had it that she would walk her daughter down the aisle in lieu of Markle’s ailing father, but the palace announced Friday that Prince Charles will do the honors instead.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will officiate the Anglican wedding ceremony, which is expected to take about an hour. The chapel’s choir will perform and Rev. Michael Bruce Curry of Chicago, the head of the Episcopal Church, will give a sermon. Harry’s aunt Jane Fellowes, the sister of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, will give the reading.
The procession and receptions
Following the service, the newlyweds will acknowledge the 200 people in the cloister first, then board their horse-drawn Ascot Landau carriage for a procession through the town before returning to the castle along the Long Walk. The carriage will be joined by a traveling escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. The procession is expected to last about 25 minutes.
The congregation will file out of the church onto nearby grass to see the start of the procession, then make its way to St. George’s Hall for the first reception.
“The public elements of the event will be over at this stage. The final thing you can expect to see is the Bride and Groom departing Windsor Castle for the evening reception at Frogmore House,” the palace said.
The other bridesmaids, who essentially play the same role as flower girls in weddings across the pond, are Harry’s goddaughters Florence van Cutsem, 3, and Zalie Warren, 2; Markle’s goddaughters Remi Litt, 6, and Rylan Litt, 7; as well as Ivy Mulroney, 4, the daughter of Markle’s best friend and stylist Jessica Mulroney.
As for the page boys, George will join Harry’s godson Jasper Dyer, 6, and Ivy’s brothers Brian and John Mulroney, both 7.
Who else will be there?
The extended British royal family, replete with color-coordinated fascinators and dresses, as well as Harry’s maternal relatives, including Diana’s three siblings, will attend.
Few members of the 600-person guest list have publicly confirmed their invitations, but the wedding is still expected to be a star-studded event with potential guests including Markle’s “Suits” costars, actress Priyanka Chopra, tennis star Serena Williams, David and Victoria Beckham and the Spice Girls, who are expected to perform.
Elton John hasn’t confirmed his attendance, but the musician, who was a close friend of Princess Diana, canceled a couple of Las Vegas concerts around the same time and cited a scheduling conflict.
What else we know about plans so far:
It’s the first marriage for Harry and the second for Markle, who was baptized into the Church of England in March.
Harry will become more than a husband: He will likely get a fancy new title from his grandmother. Prince William was named the Duke of Cambridge when he got married, and commoner Kate Middleton became Duchess Catherine. Unfortunately, a royal marriage does not a princess make.
Though the designer of Markle’s bridal gown won’t be announced until the wedding, British fashion houses Ralph & Russo, Erdem and Alexander McQueenhave been floated as potential designers. Meanwhile, Harry is expected to don a military uniform.
Florist Philippa Craddock and the Crown Estate gardeners have been growing and preparing the flowers that will fill the church.
East London pastry chef Claire Ptak, who was born in the U.S., is making the wedding cake and flavoring it with organic Amalfi lemons and elderflower.
More than 250 members of the British Armed Forces will provide ceremonial support during the wedding, including regiments and units with a special relationship with Harry.
The queen has already formally consented to the marriage, signing the Instrument of Consent last week and had to grant permission to use the castle because it’s one of her main residences and the oldest continually inhabited royal residence in the world.
The royal family confirmed that it will foot the bill for the wedding.
Follow The Times’ coverage of the royal weddinghere.
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2:25 p.m. A previous version of this story said that Barack and Michelle Obama were on the guest list. Kensington Palace has confirmed that political leaders were not invited to the wedding.