If you didn’t know, the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is literally a few days away.
Drama aside, there are some British wedding traditions and etiquette that we may see on May 19, according to the Huffington Post, some of which may surprise you.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
According to a tradition that backs to the 19th century, the bride carries a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet. Queen Victoria cut a sprig from her myrtle plant when her oldest daughter, Princess Victoria, got married in 1858.
Since then, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and Kate have all carried a bouquet with myrtle from Victoria’s garden.
Since myrtle is a symbol of love and marriage, maybe it’ll give Markle hope that this relationship will last longer than her previous ones.
In 1923, the late Queen Mother … chose Welsh gold for her wedding ring when she married King George VI. According to The Telegraph, the nugget of gold used for the ring, which came from the now-closed Clogau St. David’s mine in North Wales, was a gift to the royal family and was later used to craft bands for other brides, including Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Diana.
That piece of gold has since been nearly depleted. So in 2011, Kate received a band made from a different nugget in the royal family’s Welsh gold collection.
I wonder if Meghan will get some similar bling.
Fruitcakes aren’t only for eating at Christmas. It’s the wedding confection of choice, and Prince Harry’s brother William served it at his and Kate’s reception. London-based pastry chef Chris Dodd told Vogue:
A fruitcake was originally a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of its precious ingredients such as dried fruits, alcohol and spices. Furthermore, the cake, in a way, represented the vastness of the British empire, using ingredients from far-flung corners of the globe.
A wedding was, and is to this day, a time of celebration, and as such it calls for a cake to match the occasion.
After the wedding, guests receive a slice of cake in the mail with a thank-you note attached. That’s because fruitcake takes a long time to spoil, and obviously the royals aren’t going to eat it all at the two wedding receptions (yup, the royals have two wedding receptions instead of one).
However, Markle and Prince Harry are reportedly going for a lemon elderflower cake with buttercream frosting instead of the fruitcake option. Goodness knows if they’ve even considered mailing cake slices yet.
In a tradition dating back to 1923 when the Queen Mother honoured her late brother by leaving flowers on his grave, the bride leaves her bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior inside Westminster Abbey. Although Markle and Prince Harry are getting hitched at St George’s Chapel, the bridal bouquet must still be laid at the tomb.
How much do you want to bet that the Unknown Warrior’s ghost will turn up at the ceremony? People are cashing in on the wedding with the craziest bets, after all.
According to law, the royal family member getting married must receive the monarch’s formal permission to do so if they want a chance at taking over the throne. Queen Elizabeth gave Prince Harry and Markle her blessing two months ahead of their big day in an official letter:
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.
For the groom, he has to be wearing his military uniform. Both Charles and William wore military dress on their wedding days, so Prince Harry will be expected to do the same. If he’s not keen on the garb, at least he can change out of it afterwards like his big brother William did.
Tradition also dictates that the bride and groom should pose for an official portrait on the big day along with their immediate family and members of the bridal party.
Smile for the camera.
Photographer Alexi Lubomirski, who was behind Prince Harry and Markle’s engagement photos, will be taking the official shots of the wedding.
Finger crossed that all goes according to plan on the big day.
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