Kensington Palace releases details of Prince Harry's 2018 wedding

It's going to be a "small" wedding for Prince Harry and his American fiancé Meghan Markle, or at least smaller than the usual royal extravaganza: The two will marry in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May, Kensington Palace announced Tuesday.

The palace announced the news via a tweet, a day after the announcement that Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, were engaged to be married sometime in the spring. 

"Her Majesty the Queen has granted permission for the wedding to take place in the Chapel," the palace statement said. "The Royal Family will pay for the wedding."

The statement ended with the usual palace advice to stay tuned for further details. 

Also, Markle will accompany Harry on their first official public appearances in the U.K., on Friday, Dec. 1, when they will visit Nottingham for two separate events related to HIV/AIDS and crime, both subjects on which the prince is keen to raise awareness. 

The appearance will include a "walkabout," Markle's first as a royal-in-waiting: After a visit to the city's National Justice Museum, they'll greet local wellwishers as a couple for the first time, a scene likely to be covered live by the U.K. media.

The 900-plus-year-old Windsor Castle is the favorite residence of the royal family, whose dynasty name derives from the sprawling fortress built by William the Conqueror. Queen Elizabeth II spends most weekends there when she is London.

St. George's Chapel, located in the Lower Ward of the castle grounds, is the Anglican church at the castle and the site of many royal rituals, including weddings, interments, the colorful Order of the Garter ceremony every year and, in 2005, the intimate prayer ceremony that marked the two-part wedding of Harry's father, Prince Charles, to his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

The chapel, which is younger than the caste, dating to the 14th century, is exquisite but hardly tiny; it's more like a small cathedral. But it's not as big as the traditional royal wedding venue, Westminster Abbey, where brother Prince William married the former Kate Middleton before nearly 2,000 guests in 2011.

And it's even smaller than St. Paul's Cathedral, where Harry's father married his mother, the late Princess Diana, in 1981.

Both those churches are in London; Windsor Castle is about 30 minutes west of the city, and includes the town of Windsor that together make up one of the major royal tourist destinations in the U.K.

It's still not clear how many guests will be at this royal wedding, or who will be on the list. But even before the engagement announcement, royal correspondents speculated that Harry and Meghan, who spent the first six months of their relationship under the media radar, would opt for a smaller, more low-key wedding than that of his brother, the second-in-line to the throne. Harry is fifth in line and soon to be sixth once Will and Kate's third baby is born in April. 

In a statement to reporters by Jason Knauf, the Kensington Palace communications secretary, the couple said Windsor is "a very special place" where they have regularly spent time over the last year and a half they have been dating.

"Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are delighted that the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle will be where they begin their lives together as a married couple," Knauf's statement said. 

He said the couple is in charge of their wedding, "leading the planning" for all aspects.  

"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," Knauf's statement said. "This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters of the bride and groom." 

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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