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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wedding, together, is on May 19, 2018, at Windsor Castle. For 2018, by Time magazine, Markel’s name is on the “100 Most Influential People in the World. The Royals welcoming Meghan Markle into the family reveals how much the British monarchy has changed and how they are moulding their stuffy past and advancing into the 21st century.
Monarchy, in the 21st century, exists because of traditions; and most of us see the Royal Family important. No matter if it is the Royal Family or the general society, we can, quite often, find it difficult to adhere to our old family traditions. Traditions change with time; Queen Victoria, Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge and now Prince Harry have all have broken down some of the customs or modernised them.
The Royal Wedding, Traditions
Like all weddings, royal weddings tend to move with the times:
The Red Wedding Dress: 178 years ago, thanks to Queen Victoria, a new era of bridal standards got introduced. At that time, wedding dresses were not usually white at all, but of other colours, and commonly they were red. The white wedding dress, one of the several wedding traditions, was started by Queen Victoria. She decided on a white dress, against the court opinion, to make her lace more visible and for showing off her purity (Victoria might have smartly predicted that she might start a trend, with brides, to help struggling English lace makers). Moreover, against court opinion, she decided not to wear ermine and even a crown.
The carriage ride to the church: a tradition not broken. The bride and groom, whether in Rain, Wind or heat, always ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Like Prince William and Kate, if the weather is good, the couple would leave in an open-topped carriage.
Sprig of Myrtle: By tradition, from a bush planted by Queen Victoria, Myrtle has always been used in Royal weddings. This tradition was started by Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter and later was carried, in bouquets, by the Queen, Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge. Myrtles may always be in fashion, at least till we have the planted bush.
The Royal Bachelorette Party: Like Royal Hen Parties, party held for a woman who is about to get married, weren’t a thing until the 80’s. Thanks to Sarah Ferguson, who married Prince Charles younger brother Andrew, had set a new tradition. She parties with her girlfriends, with Princess Diana, at the exclusive Annabel nightclub in London. And later Kate Middleton had a small party of her close friends.
As for the men, Prince Philip parties up at the exclusive Belfry Club in central London before his wedding. While Prince Charles, at White’s London’s oldest men’s club, had a traditional stag dinner party. Prince William, at an elegant manor house, enjoyed an entire weekend parting.
The location of the ceremony: A garden wedding is a dream, these days, for a lot of people; But another trend, not yet broken, is that the British Royal Family always getting married in various churches. St. James Place, traditionally, has been the choice for royalty; from Queen Anne’s wedding in 1663 to the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840. But having just 100 seats, it would be very congested for guests and today’s media coverage.
Westminster Abbey may seem a good choice, with 2000 seating, but for the past 600 years, it had never been a popular choice. Queen Victoria thought it was too ugly, (although William and Kate held their wedding at Westminster Abbey); marriage of Harry and Meghan, would likely be at St. George Chapel in Windsor Castle; with 800 seats.
The Micro Changes: Princess Diana also helped to shape the Royals, for example, by picking her engagement ring (from a catalogue). Princess Diana improved her vow by omitting “obey”. She also, sent her boys to school, exposed her kids to a non-royal way of life.
The flavour of the wedding cake: The preferred fruitcakes have been a very long tradition, in the Royal Family, for centuries. Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson all had fruitcakes. Spicy fruitcakes served in medieval feasts and at important occasions and celebrations for centuries afterwards, can be traced back to the Middle Ages. This cake can contain precious ingredients, such as dried fruits and spices, signifying the importance of wealth and prosperity and the reach of the British Empire by using ingredients originating from regions of the world. It seems that most of today’s generation is not into fruitcakes. Nevertheless, this tradition of the British Royal Family, in a smart way, hasn’t been broken yet. As the Royals have always been following the tradition of having fruitcakes, Kate and William had an addition of a grooms’ cake, made of chocolate biscuits.
And now the rumour is that Prince Harry and Meghan will be having a banana cake for their wedding; will the (banana) cake, this time, take the place of a fruitcake? It seems very likely, like on Kate and Williams wedding, that a fruitcake too will make an extra appearance; as to keep up with the tradition.
Forthcoming changes in the Royal Wedding in 2018
Prince William, in an interview to mark his Grandmother’s 60th anniversary on the throne, once said of the Queen “She’s managed to get the family to move with the times,” he said. “I think that’s incredibly important. You can’t get stuck in a sort of an old-age situation when everything around you is changing.”
Prince William’s marriage, to Kate Middleton, started the on-going Royal Family transformation; Kate Middleton, as a commoner, became a member of the Royal Family and now Prince Harry marrying the Hollywood star is an extra step into the Royal Family shake-up. The Hollywood star Meghan Markle’s (an American actress, divorced and mixed race) marriage, to Prince Harry, is being regarded as a symbol of numerous significant changes in the traditions of the Royal Family. Some of the principal changes are:
Marrying a divorcee in the Royal Family: Meghan Markle is the first divorcee to be married, since Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor’s constitutional crisis in 1936), into the British Royal Family. King Edward V111, on 10 December 1936, abdicated the throne to marry the divorcee, Ms Simpson.
Meghan Markle, included into the Royal Family, confirms just how much the British Monarchy has transformed their religious past, their royal traditions and moving into the 21st century.
Marrying outside the Race & Class: Meghan Markle’s father used to be a TV lighting director, and her mum is a yoga instructor and a social worker. Prince William’s and Meghan Markle’s marriage is representing a blending irrespective of racial divides, geographical boundaries and class differences. Meghan Markle, whose Mother is African-American while, was born on 4th August 1981.
Paying the wedding bill: The bride’s family, traditionally, pays for the expenses; but now, since only the groom that is royal, the grooms family will be spending instead.
Not Marrying a Catholic: The Royal Family, the head of Church of England, are not Catholic. They have been Reformed Catholic (Protestant Anglicans) since the 16th century. Henry VIII separated away from the Catholic Church in Rome, as he wanted to Marry Ann Boleyn (his brothers’ ex-wife) and divorce Catherine Parr of Aragon. Pope’s continuing refusal to cancel his marriage to Catherine led to the break from the Roman Catholic Church.
These wives seem to have been Protestant. His son Edward had protestant teachers, and he was brought up as a protestant. Henry VIII maintained that the church remained Catholic, and
Protestants who denied the Catholic faith were burned or persecuted. Nevertheless, he kept a strong preference for traditional Catholic practises. As he was the head of the Church of England, Protestant reformers were unable to make any changes to the practices of the Church of England.
Until recently, the Royal Family, inherently tied to the Church of England, has been subject to the strict law of not marrying a Roman Catholic; unless they wanted to lose their right in line for the throne. This law, which the royals must be raised Anglican to rule, was changed in 2013.
Therefore, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, having ties to the Catholic church, must raise their children in the Anglican Church; otherwise, their children could not be able to have any chance at the throne. But even if their children are raised in the Anglican Church, since William and Kate have heirs, there will be a slim chance of the throne.
American traditions, foreign to the British Royal Traditions, are expected to be incorporated into the Royal Wedding. This expectation is stout for two reasons: Firstly, because Meghan is American. And secondly, the wedding will be a bit low key, being down the line of succession, to the marriage of Duchess Kate Middleton with Prince William; hence an opportunity to bend the rules:
Adult bridesmaids: Bridesmaids are children while the maid of honour and best man are adults, traditionally, at Royal Weddings. The tradition among American brides is to invite friends, as well as children, to be bridesmaids. While Princes Charlotte and other young members, of the Royal Family, will likely to join as bridesmaids; Meghan is expected to invite friends of her as bridesmaids as well.
American food at the Royal Wedding: Meghan Markle loves food, so it is likely that food at her wedding reception is spectacular. Perhaps, grilled cheese, hot dogs, doughnut walls hamburgers, all that is very American.
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