Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming royal wedding between Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle — or, as we know them, Harry and Meghan.
Q: When is the wedding?
A: Noon (6 a.m. Central time), Saturday, May 19, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Q: Why is the wedding important?
A: It’s not. Harry is currently fifth in line for the throne and will drop to sixth when Kate and William’s third child, due in April, is born. Barring some sort of bizarre “Kind Hearts and Coronets” scenario, the marriage will have nothing to do with the monarchy.
Q: Then why should we get up early to watch it on TV?
A: It you’re into over-the-top pomp and circumstance, it promises to be quite a show. Plus, the women wear hats resembling flying saucers, plant pots, teacups, Frisbees and pyramids.
Q: Can I go to the wedding?
A: Sorry, but no, unless you’re one of 1,200 guests who get to sit in the chapel or are among the 2,640 additional people who have been invited to stand on the grounds of the castle to greet the wedding party as they enter and leave.
Q: What if my invitation was lost in the mail?
A: You can congregate in Windsor, which is about 20 miles west of London, with other non-invitees eager to catch a glimpse of the couple as they process through the streets in a carriage after the wedding. Competition for good viewing spots will be intense. You might want to arrive early — like the day before.
Q: Do we know who the guests will be?
A: While the guest list is a secret, there are a number of predictable attendees: Harry’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip; his father and stepmother, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; various cousins, like Zara and Peter Phillips and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, and, of course, his brother and sister-in-law, William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Then there are members of royal families from other countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They’re all on a big royal-party circuit, traveling around to one another’s ceremonies.
Q: Is President Donald Trump attending?
A: No. The royal family has announced that no politicians — including the country’s own prime minister, Theresa May — will be there. At William and Kate’s wedding, most countries, including the United States, were represented by their ambassadors.
Q: What about Barack Obama?
A: That’s a little fuzzier. Kensington Palace has said that some world leaders will be invited based on their personal relationships with the couple. Former President Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been friends with Harry since they worked with him on the Invictus Games, the sports competition for wounded veterans that Harry founded. According to an anonymous “senior British government source” quoted in the Sun newspaper, “Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding.” But thus far, neither the Obamas nor the royal family have given a definitive answer as to whether they will be there.
Q: If I can talk the Obamas into giving me their invitation, is there a dress code I need to follow?
A: Yes. Men are supposed to wear military uniforms, morning coats or “lounge suits,” by which they mean, essentially, business suits. Women are expected to wear “day dresses” — dresses that aren’t evening gowns — and, of course, hats.
Q: What will Harry and Meghan’s titles be?
A: We don’t know yet. Harry is a prince, but undoubtedly they will get some fancy new titles as a wedding present. Most likely is that they will become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a title that has not been used in the royal family since 1843.
Q: Will there be a party?
A: Per Kensington Palace: “Later that evening, around 200 guests are being invited to the reception at Frogmore House given by the Prince of Wales.” The Prince of Wales, of course, is Harry’s dad, Prince Charles.
Q: Who’s paying for all of this?
A: The Royal Family is paying for the wedding and reception. Meghan will pay for her dress. The British public will pay for security.
Q: How much do royal weddings cost?
A: If you have to ask, you can’t afford one. The best guess is that the final bill will be north of $30 million.
Q: What else is happening on May 19?
A: The FA Cup final, the most important soccer match of the year in Britain. It’s like holding the Academy Awards at the same time as the Super Bowl. Awkward.
Q: What are some reliable sources of information on the wedding?
A: You can follow Kensington Palace on Twitter or check the royal family’s official website, www.royal.uk.