Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 19, 2018.
Any royal fan who’s worth their salt has been anxiously counting down the days until Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle for months now. We’ve been wondering who Meghan would pick to design her wedding dress, imagining the star-studded guest list, and maybe even licking our wounds now that Prince Harry is officially off the market. (Can you blame us?)
One thing’s for sure: Once the big day finally arrived, it did not disappoint. And while most of us couldn’t be there in person to watch it all go down (our invites must have gotten lost in the mail or something … ), we did the next best thing: set our alarms for dawn, chugged several cups of coffee, and sat glued to our TV sets watching the first royal wedding in the last seven years.
Here were some of our favorite moments …
1. Prince Harry’s arrival with big brother William.
When most of us think of royal weddings, we imagine the bride and groom arriving by carriage, preceded by a procession of horses and a ton of pomp and ceremony. While Harry and Meghan’s nuptials were definitely full of royal flair, there were plenty of relaxed moments, too, like when Harry arrived at the chapel with his brother William — on foot and sporting his trademark beard.
The prince still looked pretty regal while waving at well-wishers around the chapel, and showed up donning his traditional Blues and Royals uniform, which was the military regiment he was a part of. But it was hard not to notice his nervousness while entering the church and waiting for his bride.
2. Watching the pint-sized bridal party arrive.
This day might have been all about Meghan and Harry, but let’s be honest: The true stars of the royal family are the kids. While little Prince Louis was still a bit too young to make it to the royal wedding, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were all too eager to reprise their roles as a page boy and bridesmaid, which they first played at their Aunt Pippa’s wedding last year.
Once they arrived, along with eight other members of the pint-sized bridal party, little George and Charlotte smiled while climbing the steps of the chapel and walking down the aisle. The best part? Charlotte breaking out her royal wave, which we first saw last month when she arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital to meet her new brother, Louis — and boy, does it get us every time.
3. Meghan’s long-awaited arrival — and that dress!
Pretty much all weddings run a little late — and apparently royal ones are no exception. Meghan’s arrival at the chapel was delayed by 15 minutes (which somehow felt like forever), but once she finally stepped out of that Rolls Royce and debuted her wedding day look, it was clearly well worth the wait.
There was tons of speculation over what (and who) Meghan would wear. Some thought she’d pick a modern British designer, like Stella McCartney. Others wondered if she’d go with the designers of Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding gown, the Emannuelles. But in the end, we were all surprised: Meghan chose Clare Waight Keller, of the French fashion house Givenchy.
The gorgeous dress was notably understated, with long sleeves and a boat-neckline. According to ABC News, her long, flowing veil included 53 embroidered flowers on it, to symbolize the 53 countries belonging to the British commonwealth, and the tiara she wore on her head was hand-selected by Meghan herself. It previously belonged to Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother, and has been in the royal family for over 100 years.
4. The pageboy who was really, really happy to be there.
It was hard to take our eyes off of Meghan as she entered the chapel … until one super excited little pageboy stole the show for a brief moment. His grin has since gone viral on Twitter, with millions smiling along with his infectious excitement.
5. Prince Charles walking Meghan down the aisle.
It was a heartbreaking week for Meghan as her father went back and forth on whether or not he would be attending her wedding. When he ultimately decided his health was too poor, Meghan asked her now father-in-law Prince Charles to do the honors.
While Meghan made a bold feminist statement by walking herself halfway down the aisle of the nave, it was the moment she was greeted by Prince Charles midway through the chapel that things really started to get emotional.
As the future King led her on his arm to marry his youngest son, the pair smiled and took in the moment.
According to People, Prince Harry smiled and said, “Thank you, Pa” when Prince Charles and Meghan reached the altar. (We’re not crying, you are!)
6. Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, holding back tears.
Doria was every proud mom as she watched her daughter become a part of the British Royal Family. Before Meghan arrived, her mom entered St. George’s Chapel and took her seat. Looking around, she struggled to hold back tears as the emotion of the day settled in.
Who can blame her? We were holding back tears ourselves!
7. Prince Harry watching Meghan come down the aisle.
The look of love on Prince Harry’s face while Meghan walked towards him is one we’ll never forget.
The royal wedding broke many traditions, but one you may not know is that grooms and best men at British weddings don’t traditionally face the aisle as the bride walks towards them.
“In the United States, the groom and entire wedding party will watch the bride walk down the aisle,” Myka Meira of Beautmont Etiquette told Good Housekeeping, “At a British wedding the groom and his best man (or supporter) will face the altar as the bride walks down the aisle. He won’t turn to look at her until she is beside him.”
But apparently, Harry decided to buck tradition when it came to this little detail — and it definitely created an emotional moment.
8. Bishop Curry’s wedding address had everyone (even Oprah!) transfixed.
There were many American touches on the special day, one of which was the emotional, riveting address given by Bishop Michael Curry. In the address, Curry quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and spoke about the “fire” of love. But such a (shall we say, impassioned?) address is quite unusual in a British royal wedding — and by the look on many faces, guests were clearly taken by surprise.
Most notably? Prince William, who tried (and failed) to hold back his laughter as he watched and listened to some of the Bishop’s off-the-cuff one-liners. (Among our favorites: “We gotta get married, y’all!”)
9. Listening to the choir’s moving rendition of “Stand By Me.”
At William and Kate’s royal wedding back in 2011, we heard plenty of stirring songs sung by the choir — but most were traditional church hymns, as the wedding was a much more formal affair.
But when it came to the music, Meghan and Harry bucked with tradition yet again, as the Gospel group The Kingdom Choir gave a moving rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” The song not only infused yet another bit of American culture into the ceremony, but it also came as a powerful follow-up to the theme of Bishop Curry’s address.
10. That first kiss!
Yes, the music was beautiful and the vows were moving … but the moment we were all really waiting for once the ceremony neared its end? THE KISS. Unlike Will and Kate’s 2011 wedding, we didn’t have to wait too long for the big moment, since the couple wasn’t moving to another location to stage a formal balcony photo-opp. Instead, we got a glimpse of the couple’s first kiss immediately following the wedding, as they stood on the steps of St. George’s Chapel.
Making the moment even more special was the fact that the choir broke out in song, crooning the Gospel hymn “Amen” as a royal horse and carriage pulled up to take the couple away.
11. The carriage ride through Windsor.
… and just like that, they’re hitched!
Soon after their church-front kiss, the now-Duke and Duchess of Sussex were led away in style by royal horse and carriage through Windsor, where they gave their best royal waves to the thousands who traveled from near and far to wish them well on their wedding day.
While the incredible moment was being shared with millions worldwide, it was also undoubtedly intimate for the couple, who beamed at each other from inside the carriage. And as ABC News commenter David Muir noted while watching the procession, Prince Harry could be seen mouthing the words, “I’m so lucky” to his bride as they rode through town.
He certainly is.