The world is abuzz with stories of royals in love! In case you've recently put yourself into celeb gossip self-exile, former "blue-blooded bad boy" Prince Harry has all grown up, and he has the engagement ring to prove it. With the official announcement that he will be marrying American actress Meghan Markle, we're all atwitter with the excitement of their blowout wedding upcoming in 2018. From dates and locations to rings and gowns, here are all the royal details you need to know:
All About the Bride: Who is Meghan Markle?
36-year old Meghan Markle is an American access, best known for her role as senior paralegal Rachel Zane on Suits, a hit TV drama about a hot New York City law firm. But before that, she was one of the models on the Howie Mandel-hosted hit game show Deal or No Deal.
And while she will be married to a prince, don't call her "princess" just yet! In fact, even after Meghan says "I Do," she won't be able to inherit the title or "princess" because she doesn't have royal blood. According to the ancient rules of the British monarchy, that means she can never be an official princess. It's the same situation for Kate Middleton, Prince William's bride...since she wasn't royal-born, she technically can never be a princess. Even "Princess" Diana, Harry and William's globally-beloved late mother, was never technically a true princess in the royal monarchy.
But as far as we're concerned, being married to a prince is close enough! And being that Meghan is three years older than 33-year old Prince Harry, we know she'll will keep the former bad boy in line. Even better, her marriage represents a sea change in old patterns of royal love. Not only is Meghan American, but she's mixed-race and Roman Catholic. Believe it or not, that's something that only a generation ago would have been totally unheard of for a British monarchy that has been very white, and very Anglican, for literally hundreds of years. Go Harry!
How'd They Meet?
The pair was introduced by mutual friend Misha Nonoo, a celebrity fashion designer who just knew the duo would get along. So she did what all good friends do, and set them up on a blind date. Before long, the trio found themselves on a luxury glamping trip in Botswana, where after Nonoo left the pair alone, sparks could really fly. The rest, as they say, is history!
The Juicy Wedding Details
While we haven't gotten all the details quite yet, here is what we know so far: Harry and Meghan plan on tying the knot in May 2018, at none other than Windsor Palace. They'll say "I Do" in the magnificent cathedral inside -- known as St. George's Chapel -- which has been the site of several previous royal weddings. Kate Middleton is expected to give birth the month before, so hopefully the new baby makes it to her uncle's nuptials!
The exact date is still under wraps as are numerous other details, including who will officiate on the big day. Similarly, no one knows exactly who will be on the guest list, but with British royalty marrying Hollywood royalty, we can only assume it will be a spectacularly star-studded occasion. With the Obamas tweeting their congratulations, one can only hope that Barack and Michelle will among those present for the celebration. While we don't know much more than that, a royal spokesman has assured us that the entire wedding day will be designed with the public in mind, making millions of non-royal spectators around the world feel like they're part of the fun and romance!
What About the Wedding Gown?
Meghan's bridal gown is sure to be stunning, but we still aren't sure which desinger she'll go with. We do know from her social media and interviews that she's crazy about wedding fashion icons like J. Mendel and Elie Saab, but we don't know yet if that means she'll bring in one of those to design the dress for the biggest day of her life. Judging from some of Meghan's previous fashion choices and trends, experts are weighing in with predictions: one bridal designer thinks she'll go traditional, to respect that part of the Crown's history, while including unique modern twists that make her stand out.
Think clean lines and design that combines minimalist interpretations of traditional design, giving her an effortlessly gorgeous, classic look with a surprise or two thrown in to personalize the look. If Meghan's admiration for the famous dress worn by Carolyn Bessette when she married John F. Kennedy Jr. is any indication, she'll choose a gown with a simple, traditional-yet-elegant style and cut.
A Wedding Ring With a Royal Twist
You might be thinking, "I bet when a prince proposes, it comes with one heck of a ring." And you'd be right! Prince Harry presented Meghan with a unique ring unlike any other in the world. Why, you ask? Easy: not only was the ring designed by Harry himself, but it incorporates some of the finest diamonds from his late mother's collection -- two of them, to be exact. In addition to the two world-class diamonds from Princess Diana, the ring also boasts a third impressive diamond sourced from Botswana, the country where his and Meghan's love really first bloomed and blossomed. Once Harry was finished with the design, he sent it along with the diamonds to the Queen's official jeweler to craft it into reality.
So now to answer the burning question on everyone's minds: when and how did the prince pop the question? Preferring privacy to fanfare and dramatics, it all happened during a cozy evening Harry and Meghan were spending at home. The couple was cooking dinner together, after about a year and a half of dating, when Harry suddenly got down on one knee...at a time when Meghan probably least expected it. But as Harry began to pop the question, Meghan had already said yes before he even had a chance to pull out the ring. Sounds like a match made in heaven to us!
So what's next for the stately bride and groom? For her part, Meghan is retiring from acting to focus her time on humanitarian causes. Sounds like whatever she does after the wedding, she's ready for a life of philanthropy truly fit for a newly-minted royal.
That's just about everything that's been revealed for now...stay tuned as Prince Harry and his royal spokespeople release juicy new details about his big day!