Meghan Markle is breaking royal protocol, and it's exactly what the monarchy needs | OPINION
We are drawing close to the day the American actress, Meghan Markle, turns into a royal bride. But we have seen her give a spin to all her royal engagements, from her non-traditional attire to her messy buns and random hugs at royal events.
So the nuptial marked on May 19 will pretty much have eyebrow-raising moments because the soon-to-be Duchess does not shy away from speaking her mind and doing things her way. History has it, Meghan urged a dish soap company to change its sexist advertisement at the age of 11. And recently at Royal Foundation Forum, while sharing the stage with William and Kate, Markle spoke out in support of the Time's Up and #MeToo movements, the same topic Kate was criticized for backing out from wearing all black dress code at BAFTA's. Royals are discouraged from making political statements in public but here is Meghan Markle, weaving her own set of rules, just like a royalty.
No, she isn't doing this as an act of rebellion but rather making royalty an approachable concept in modern world. Every day there is an update on one of the most anticipated events of the year and we already have cues that this wedding of Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales with American actress Meghan Markle, will be unlike anything we have seen before.
Here are the ways how this forthcoming royal wedding is breaking some of the established royal traditions.
The St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle continues to serve as the traditional venue for an hour-long ceremony starting at 7 am EST. But one of the traditions the date itself is breaking is that none of the royal weddings have taken place on a weekend. Prince William and Kate Middleton were married on a Friday so it is unusual that this wedding is on a Saturday.
One of the earliest hints we got on the couple departing from convention was when they chose to serve a lemon elderflower cake on their wedding day instead of the British fruit cake. Prince William, and his wife, Princess Kate, had two cakes on their wedding day in 2011, a traditional eight-tier fruit cake and a chocolate biscuit cake from a Buckingham Palace recipe that was a favorite of William's as a child. The upcoming royal cake, the lemon elderflower cake, will feature buttercream icing and fresh flowers as decorations, according to Kensington Palace. The item was selected from the London-based pastry chef Claire Ptak, who, like Markle, was raised in California.
Inviting 2,640 people
Harry and Markle have handed out invitations to 2,640 people into the grounds of Windsor Castle on their wedding day. The invited guests will also see the bride and groom depart in a carriage after the ceremony, according to Kensington Palace. The selection is done from different regions of the U.K. with a special emphasis on those who have served their community, reflecting the couple's shared passion for charitable work. The couple will also invite 100 students from two local schools in Windsor that have a strong affiliation with Windsor Castle.
They also plan to extend invitations to 200 individuals who take part in charities and organizations of which Harry serves as royal patron.
“Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too. This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom," Kensington Palace said in a March 2 statement on behalf of the couple.
Her own royal speech
In a striking departure from royal marital tradition, the 36-year-old actress will deliver a speech at her own wedding. It has been reported that she is planning an “affectionate” tribute to her new husband and will offer thanks to the Queen, her family and friends. There may even be a couple of jokes. Many who have searched for Markle on the Internet must have come across her powerful speech before leaders of the United Nations in 2015.
Markle could have a chance to deliver two speeches as she and Harry will celebrate their marriage at a reception at St George's Hall after the ceremony, as well as with an evening reception for close family and friends hosted by Harry's father, Prince Charles.
Her bridal party may be the biggest one yet among the royalties. Princess Kate had just her sister, Pippa Middleton, by her side at her wedding to Prince William. But Markle is expected to have many on her list. Markle's best friend Jessica Mulroney, who is also helping Markle plan the wedding, is one friend who could play a big role in Markle's wedding day. Lindsay Roth Jordan, whom Markle knows from Northwestern University, could also be selected for matron of honor duties as Markle served as her maid of honor at her 2016 wedding in New York. Heather Dorak, who runs a Los Angeles Pilates studio, is a longtime friend of Markle’s who could take a supporting role. Designer Misha Nonoo and Markus Anderson are another two of Markle's closest friends who helped her relationship with Harry flourish. Markle is expected to choose Ivy Mulroney, the young daughter of Jessica Mulroney, as a flower girl, in addition to her future niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince George.
Who will walk her down the aisle?
It is usually the father of the bride who walks his daughter down the aisle, but since Markle's parents are divorced, there have been a lot of questions and speculations. So if her father, Tom Markle, is not walking her then there is a break of tradition right there. But rumors are, Prince William could walk the former 'Suits' actress down the aisle in a move that would echo Prince Philip’s gesture for Prince Margaret at her wedding, hence the tradition reference.
Royal brides including Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton, have carried fragrant bouquets with white flowers, but since Markle favors peonies, it is predicted that she will perhaps carry a multicolored bouquet.
The other traditions
Besides, Meghan Markle also broke royal dating scenes when she met the Queen long before Kate ever got to meet Her Majesty when she started dating Prince William. She was invited to the Queen’s annual Christmas gathering at Sandringham too, despite spaces strictly being reserved for married partners only. And Harry too got approval from Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland before proposing, rather than following the old tradition of speaking to his girlfriend's father.
The couple who are actively planning their wedding are breaking away from so many conventional royalty norms including the public display of their affection. Many have pointed out that Meghan who is biracial with a black mother and a white father, is giving some much-needed representation in the British Monarchy, an institution that has historically and almost-entirely been white.