Photo Albums Highlight Key Differences Between The British Royal Family Weddings
- December 4, 2021
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Within the last eleven years, we’ve been lucky enough to experience two major royal weddings of the British royal family. Kate Middleton and Prince William said “I do” in 2011. Then Prince Harry met the love of his life, Meghan Markle, and they became husband and wife in 2018. The two weddings celebrating their unions were similar but also very different. After all, William and Kate will likely become King and Queen Consort one day, while Harry and Meghan have stepped away from their official duties as royals. Here are the differences you may have missed between the two royal weddings.
The Engagement Rings
The engagement ring that Prince William presented to Kate Middleton once belonged to William’s late mother, Princess Diana. Now valued at $400,000, the 12-carat ring features an oval blue sapphire with cut faces. It’s circled by stunning solitaire diamonds.
Meghan’s engagement ring also features jewels from Princess Diana’s collection, with two of her diamonds framing a center stone that Prince Harry purchased from Botswana, where the now-married couple first fell in love. Meghan’s engagement ring is worth an estimated $350,000.
Leading Up To The Big Day
Leading up to the big day, British tabloids painted a harsh portrayal of Meghan Markle. Labeled as an American actress with a family background unsuitable to marry into the British royal family, Meghan struggled to enjoy her engagement to Prince Harry.
Within two years of their wedding day, Prince Harry and Meghan made the decision to step away from their duties as senior royals. Some people who’ve closely followed the royal family point to differences in Kate and Meghan’s weddings as an early sign that Meghan wouldn’t fully commit to her new role.
Waving To The Crowd
Upon officially joining the British royal family, Duchesses Kate and Meghan are expected to demonstrate the perfect regal wave. After the wedding ceremony, royal brides are expected to wave to the crowds during the carriage ride, as a sign of appreciation for the people that have gathered to celebrate.
Kate keeps her fingers close together for her wave, while Meghan has her fingers a bit more relaxed and spaced out. Both ladies use minimal movement while waving to the crowds.
Prince Charles’ Two Outfits
While Prince Charles’ second wife Camilla Parker wore similar outfits to both royal weddings, the father of Prince William and Prince Harry wore noticeably different attire for two of the biggest days in his sons’ lives.
For Prince William and Kate’s wedding, Charles donned his royal uniform, complete with all its regalia. For Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, Prince Charles wore a simple grey suit that paired well with Camilla’s light pink dress and hat.
Walking Down The Aisle
It’s hard to fathom the amount of pressure on Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle as they each walked down the aisle on their big days with the entire world watching. The Duchess of Cambridge was accompanied by her father, Michael Middleton, on her big day.
Unfortunately, the Duchess of Sussex’s father was experiencing health issues during the month of her wedding date, preventing him from traveling to London for the big event. Meghan walked down the aisle solo before being met by Prince Charles halfway
The Two Wedding Reception Dresses
After their royal weddings, each Duchess changed dresses and headed to the wedding reception that Prince Charles organized for each of his sons and their new wives. Kate wore a classic white Alexander McQueen dress for her reception.
Meghan’s dress was designed by Stella McCartney and cost a reported $157,000. She was spotted wearing the stunning gown as she held hands with Prince Harry while he helped her into a blue vintage Jaguar.
Millions of viewers tuned in to witness the first kiss of the newlywed royal couples. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge had their first kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the wedding ceremony at Westminister Abbey.
Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex displayed their first wedded kiss right outside of St. George’s Chapel following the wedding ceremony. Both couples beamed with happiness as the crowds cheered them on.
The Middletons’ Attire For Both Weddings
Michael and Carole Middleton, the parents of Kate, are elite members of British society. The family has a long history of prominent lawyers and are very well-educated. They’re no strangers to the British royals, as the two families have shared ties for quite a number of years.
For their daughter’s royal wedding, Michael donned a suit and top hat, while the Mother of the Bride wore a light blue dress. Both wore similar outfits when they attended Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018.
The Two Tiaras
Nothing about a royal wedding is average, which is part of why so many people tune in to watch. One aspect that sets royal weddings apart from the rest is the incredible headwear that the brides don for the event.
At her wedding, Kate wore a Cartier tiara that was given to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday. Meghan also wore a tiara that belonged to the Queen. The Diamond Bandeau Tiara was designed in 1932. For her wedding day, Meghan swapped the sapphire center stone for a diamond.
Star soccer player David Beckham and his wife, fashion designer and former pop star Victoria Beckham, attended both royal weddings. David wore a grey morning suit and top hat for Prince William and Kate’s wedding while Victoria wore a sleek navy dress and hat.
For Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the couple wore similar colors with David sporting a close haircut and beard instead of a top hat. The famous couple reportedly donated their outfits from the wedding to raise money for charity.
The Royal Wedding Cakes
Prince William and Kate’s wedding cake was made by Fiona Cairns and featured an incredible eight tiers. The couple selected fruitcake as their flavor and had a second cake made that was chocolate, for guests who didn’t like fruitcake, costing a total of $160,000.
Prince Harry and Meghan opted for a lemon sponge cake with elderflower syrup and Amalfi lemon curd for their big day. Made by Claire Ptak, the cake reportedly cost between $60,000 and $75,000.
A Closer Look At The Beautiful Bouquets
The wedding bouquets that Kate and Meghan held at their respective weddings look quite similar but have important differences between the two. Middleton’s delicately small bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and features all-white flowers, each representing something that the couple wishes for their marriage, including happiness and steady love.
Designed by Philippa Craddock, Meghan’s bouquet included flowers that were handpicked by Prince Harry and symbolized hopes for their marriage, including dedication and love.
Kate Had A Maid Of Honor, Meghan Had Page Boys
As expected, Kate Middleton asked her younger sister Pippa to act as her Maid of Honor and carry her train down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. The two sisters are very close and lived together before Kate’s wedding day.
On the other hand, Meghan didn’t select a Maid of Honor, although she had several of her best friends in attendance at her royal wedding. Two page boys carried the train of Meghan’s dress at St. George’s Chapel.
Both Prince William and Prince Harry served in the military and wore their uniforms on their wedding days, as it’s tradition for royal grooms to marry in military dress. William, a Colonel, wore a red Irish Guards uniform. He was the first royal groom to wear red since Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.
Prince Harry wore a Blues and Royals military uniform on his wedding day. He opted to wear a Major’s uniform, even though he was appointed as Captain General of the Royal Marines.
Duchess Catherine Of Cambridge’s Dress
The world waited with bated breath to see what dress Kate Middleton would wear as she married the future King. The Duchess of Cambridge selected a gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. The dress was widely popular as viewers noted the blend of tradition and modern elegance, costing a reported $450,000.
Kate’s dress featured lace that was handcrafted by the Royal School of Needlework and a nine-foot train. The back of the dress was extremely detailed with no less than 58 organza-covered buttons and Rouleau loops.
Some Thought Kate Wore White To Meghan’s Wedding
Traditionally, no one except the bride is supposed to wear white to a wedding. However, at first glance, many thought that the Duchess of Cambridge bent the rules on this one. Looking closer in different lighting, however, Kate’s elegant Alexander McQueen coat was a primrose yellow.
Having just given birth to Prince Louis three weeks prior, Kate looked stunning, pairing the stylish light yellow coat with a Philip Treacy hat.
The Mother Of The Bride
Carole Middleton didn’t want to take the shine away from her daughter, the Duchess of Cambridge, on her big day. Her pale blue dress, designed by Catherine Walker, was the perfect shade for the spring wedding. The Mother of the Bride looked elated on Kate’s big day.
Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland flew in from Los Angeles to show her support for Prince Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding. She wore a light green Oscar de la Renta dress, looking happy as ever as Meghan married her prince charming.
The Duchess Of Sussex’s Wedding Dress
Designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, the Duchess of Sussex wore a silk dress on her wedding day. The dress featured an open boat neckline with an otherwise simple design, free of lace or any other embellishments.
The Duchess did incorporate a piece of fabric from her blue dress that she wore on her first date with Prince Harry. Although her train was modest, Meghan’s veil was an incredible 16.5 feet long.
Not Everyone Was Invited To The Evening Wedding Receptions
Following each royal wedding is the evening reception. Not everyone who attends the grandiose weddings is invited to attend the evening receptions. Most guests changed outfits after the wedding for the magical night, which wasn’t shared publicly.
Prince William and Kate Middleton held their evening reception at Buckingham Palace, while Prince Harry and Meghan held their reception at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle. Both events followed tradition with speeches, toasts, and well wishes to the newly-wed couples.
The Price Tag Of Each Wedding
It’s no secret that both royal weddings cost well above the average wedding for a commoner. Every detail of the event is given proper attention, as the weddings of the British royal family become a part of history. The incredible guest list alone will have the numbers skyrocketing.
In total, Prince William and Kate’s 2011 wedding hosted 2,500 guests and cost $34 million. In 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding had fewer guests (600) yet cost a reported $55 million.
Chelsy Davy’s Royal Wedding Outfits
Before Meghan Markle, Prince Harry had an on-again-off-again relationship with Chelsy Davy, a businesswoman from Zimbabwe, that spanned seven years. Harry and Chelsy dated from 2004 until 2011, and she was invited to both Prince William and Prince Harry’s weddings.
At the time of Prince William’s wedding, Harry and Chelsy had just broken up. Parade magazine reports that the enormity of the event kept Harry and Chelsy apart for good, as Chelsy realized the royal family life wasn’t for her. She wasn’t invited to Prince Harry and Meghan’s evening reception.
From Light To Bright: The Queen’s Royal Wedding Attire
Queen Elizabeth II is known for wearing bright outfits. She’s been quoted as saying, “I can never wear beige because nobody will know who I am.” For Prince William and Kate’s wedding, the Queen wore a primrose yellow long sleeve dress with a matching hat.
In 2018, when she attended Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the Queen opted for a brighter green coat over a purple dress. She paired it with a matching green hat with purple feather ornamentation.
The Royal Wedding Veils
While Kate’s wedding dress train topped Meghan’s, it was Meghan’s veil that stunned guests and everyone watching from home. Kate’s veil was a top-secret project of the Royal School of Needlework that paired elegantly with the tiara borrowed from the Queen.
Clare Waight Keller designed Meghan’s 16.5-foot-long veil that featured the wildflowers of 53 countries after Meghan made a request that all the Commonwealth’s nations be represented in her veil design.