- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19.
- Many things about Markle’s background will make this royal wedding refreshingly different to anything ever seen before.
- Her race, upbringing, marital status, and citizenship all defy British royal tradition.
The world is giddy with excitement in the final countdown to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding this Saturday, May 19. The couple will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
There are a number of things about Markle’s background – aside from the fact she’s a famous actress – that will make this royal wedding refreshingly different to anything ever seen before.
Here are all the ways in which Markle defies British royal tradition.
She’s not white
Born to an African-American mother Doria Ragland, whose ancestors were slaves, and a white father Thomas.
Markle’s race was initially the subject of media fascination. So intrusive was some of the media coverage that last November Harry publicly addressed the press in a Kensington Palace statement saying he felt “a line had been crossed.”
Markle will become “the first mixed race person to marry into a family that for generations has been almost entirely white European,” according to The Mirror’s royal correspondent.
When asked about the scrutiny of her ethnicity in the couple’s engagement interview with the BBC, Markle said: “Of course it’s disheartening.”
“I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from and we have never put any focus on that, we have just focused on who we are as a couple,” she added.
She’s from humble beginnings
While some have claimed to find an ancestral link between the couple, Markle’s LA upbringing was far humbler than Harry’s. Her mother is a yoga teacher and social worker, and her father a former lighting director.
Although Markle did attend private school from a young age, it’s still a far cry from Harry’s Etonian education. This is nothing new to the younger royals, however – Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, was also considered a “commoner” before she married Prince William.
The palace confirmed that the royal family is paying for the wedding, including the church service, music, flowers, and reception.
Markle used to be married to Trevor Engelson. While this won’t be the first time a divorcee has married into the senior royal family – Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles in 2005, both of whom were previously married – it could mean that the Queen, who is the head of the Church of England, could decide not to attend or witness Markle’s second marriage. She skipped Charles’ ceremony, only attending the reception afterwards.
However, the Queen has expressed her “delight” at the engagement, and as Harry is unlikely to become king, it surely won’t cause the same stir it did in 2005.
Markle is expected to become the first American in over 80 years to marry into the royal family. Wallis Simpson was a twice-divorced American woman who wed King Edward VIII, though only once he had abdicated and become the Duke of Windsor in order to marry her.
Markle has been baptised and confirmed into the Church of England ahead of the service at Windsor Castle.