There are less than 24 hours to go until Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle. It is the wedding that no one in Britain seems to care about, but has transfixed the rest of the world. So to keep you informed on the big day, here is The Spectator’s idiot’s guide to the royal wedding:
1. What title will they get, and when?
Tomorrow morning, if history is anything to go by, Prince Harry will be made a Duke by his grandmother. His brother was made Duke of Cambridge at 8am on his wedding day. Favourites for the title include the dukedom of Sussex, or Clarence. In the past, the title Duke of Connaught was used for royal family members, but that was before Ireland became independent so is likely out of the question these days. Clarence may also be unlikely as the last one was accused of being Jack the Ripper. Before Tony Blair reformed the House of Lords in 1999, royal dukes could also sit in the upper chamber and some regularly made speeches.
2. Where is the wedding happening?
St George’s Chapel, Windsor, is the location of the nuptials. The venue is often used for royal events that aren’t quite state functions, where instead Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral host. Prince Charles had the blessing for his second marriage here in 2005. St George’s is a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle, and is the burial place for dozens of royals including Britain’s most recent monarchs.
3. What will Meghan be called?
By the afternoon tomorrow, providing there are no last minute dramas which given the last few weeks is not out of the question, Meghan will have married into the most famous family on earth. With it not only comes immense scrutiny and a lifetime of visiting charity shops, but also a title. She won’t, however, be Princess Meghan as she is herself not a Princess in her own right. Instead she will be Princess Henry, Duchess of Wherever the Queen chooses tomorrow morning.
4. Who does she have to curtsey to?
Apparently marrying into the royal family doesn’t exempt you from the boring necessities of bowing and curtseying to other royals, in fact the family are obsessed and monitor each other and pick up on the slightest error in etiquette. They do need a hobby after all. Meghan, despite becoming a Duchess will still need to flex her knees to various other members of her new family, including the Queen, Princess Anne and Princess Alexandra – an 80 year old cousin of Her Majesty.
5. Where will they live?
The couple currently live in a cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace, next door to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a flurry of ancient minor royals who no one has dared kick out. It is likely the Queen will also give the pair a country house as a wedding present, as she did by handing Anmer Hall in Norfolk to William and Catherine in 2011.
6. Does Meghan need a visa?
Despite being a royal, Meghan is like everyone in Britain subject to the whims of the Home Office and their favourite pastime of deporting people who have a right to be here. With no special treatment, she was forced to fly back to the US in April and apply for a visa and pay more than £1,000 for the privilege. Once she is married, she should be able to convert it to a spousal permit and eventually become a British citizen, but first she needs to pass a test that includes questions like “Who is the Queen of the United Kingdom?”