When there's a new royal wedding development every day, it can be hard to keep all of your Prince Harry and Meghan Markle facts straight. Luckily, we've been watching the couple very closely over the last few months, which means we have all of the answers to your most-pressing royal wedding inquiries. Here, a cheat-sheet-style guide to everything you need to know about the duo's engagement, their upcoming nuptials, and—perhaps most importantly—Meghan's future title.
How did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet?
It's hard to believe, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met on a blind date in July 2016, after being set up by a mutual friend. Though the couple has always protected this person's identity—in their first joint interview post-engagement, they made this clear—Harry was vocal about their immediate connection. "I'd never watched Suits, I'd never heard of Meghan before," he explained. "I was beautifully surprised when I, when I walked into that room and saw her. There she was sitting there. I was like, 'Okay, well, I'm really gonna have to up my game!'"
When did they get engaged?
Kensington Palace announced the happy news on November 27, 2017, nearly one year after Harry and Meghan took their relationship public. After snapping a few photos in Kensington Palace's Sunken Garden, they sat down for the aforementioned BBC interview, where they revealed that the prince had popped the question at home, while the couple was roasting a chicken. "It was just an amazing surprise, it was so sweet, and natural, and very romantic," Markle shared, adding that her future husband got on one knee.
Did Harry need to get Queen Elizabeth's approval?
Absolutely, but that's simply royal tradition. Royals up to sixth in line to the throne (Harry is currently fifth in line to rule!) are required under the Succession to the Crown Act to gain the reigning monarch's approval before tying the knot. While Queen Elizabeth consented to her grandson's choice long before he proposed, she gave her official permission in March. "I declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle," she wrote in a statement.
After their official union, Harry and Markle will receive a handwritten memento from the Queen that formalizes this approval and lists many beautiful details about their relationship's history and respective heritages. Kensington Palace released the first image of this keepsake, titled the Instrument of Consent, a week prior to the ceremony.
What's the story behind Meghan's engagement ring?
Harry designed the three-stone piece himself, with the help of Cleave and Company (the jewelers to the Queen). The center stone was sourced in Botswana—the place where he and Markle reportedly fell in love just four weeks after their first date—and was flanked by two smaller diamonds from the late Princess Diana's personal collection.
Are the wedding invitations in the mail?
Kensington Palace dispatched the first 600 royal wedding invitations, made by Barnard & Westwood, during the last week of March. Designed on British cardstock and written in American-sourced ink, the traditional paper suite served as a metaphor for the British royal and American actress's union.
Where and when is the wedding ceremony?
Harry and Meghan are set to marry on May 19, 2018, at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, 20 miles from London. The ceremony will begin at 12 p.m. GMT and there will be a live broadcast for royal watchers around the world (although specific streaming information has yet to be announced!). For those in the States, that means an early wakeup call—7 a.m. EST, to be exact.
Who's in the bridal party?
In a typical British wedding, the bridal party is comprised only of children. The same often goes for royal nuptials, making Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton's major roles in Will and Kate's wedding fairly unexpected. So will Harry and Meghan break with tradition and have adult attendants, too, or will they keep the party kids-only? All signs point to the fact that they'll follow closely in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's footsteps, especially since Prince Harry has officially asked big brother Prince William to be his best man. The bride-to-be, however, won't have a maid of honor, a royal spokesperson announced. Instead, she's asked her close group of girlfriends, including best friend Jessica Mulroney, to act as unofficial bridesmaids on the big day. As for Prince George and Princess Charlotte, it seems likely that they'll reprise their roles as pageboy and bridesmaid, just as they did for their Aunt Pippa's May 2017 nuptials. Little Prince Louis, on the other hand, will be staying home.
What will Meghan's wedding dress look like?
Your guess is as good as ours. This particular wedding detail has been kept under lock and key but you can expect something "simple and classy and very elegant," a royal reporter told ABC News earlier this year. As for Markle's presumed wedding dress designer? Front runners include Erdem (one of Kate Middleton's favorites), Ralph & Russo (the designer behind Markle's sheer engagement photo dress), and Alexander McQueen (the atelier responsible for Middleton's iconic lace bridal gown).
What about all of the decorative elements?
With just a few weeks to the big day, it seems like Prince Harry and Markle have most items checked off their to-do list. Pastry Chef Claire Ptak, owner of the London-based baker Violet Bakery, is in charge of their confection, which will be a lemon elderflower cake covered in buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers (a deviation from the traditional royal fruitcake!). Phillipa Craddock is handling the ceremony and reception florals. Expect lots of native, in-season English blooms, like beech, birch, hornbeam, white garden roses, foxgloves, and (of course!) peonies.
Who's paying for what?
The Royal Family will absorb all wedding-related costs, including the service, flowers, music, and reception (food and drink, included!). Markle is reportedly paying for her wedding dress. As for all of that day-of security? The British public (a.k.a the U.K. taxpayer) reportedly has that covered.
What will Meghan's official title be?
Markle's royal title is actually dependent on Prince Harry's, which will likely get an upgrade after he's wed. Currently known as Prince Henry of Wales, Harry's new moniker might be Duke of Sussex—which would make Markle the Duchess of Sussex. As for her new married name? Introducing Rachel Meghan Mountbatten Windsor.