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Image / Style / Weddings

A look back at the glamour (and drama) of Harry and Meghan’s wedding day 3 years ago


by Amanda Cassidy
19th May 2021
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So much has happened in the three years since Harry and Meghan's wedding that it's easy to forget that while their big day looked picture perfect from the outside, there was a lot happening behind the scenes.

Who can believe it’s only been three years since Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle? Back in May 2018 we were all living with such hope that the British monarchy was evolving, that we were entering a real era for the Royal Family, one that better represented its subjects and the world at large.

Alas, anyone who has seen the latest series of The Crown will know, it feels like history is repeating itself. The couple has since retreated from royal life and from Britain altogether following a rumoured rift between Harry and his family relating to their treatment of Meghan and their son Archie. With another little one on the way, it seems they have settled comfortably into their new life in Santa Barbara now.

With all that’s happened, you might look back on their wedding with rose-tinted glasses, remember that elegant Givenchy dress by Clare Waight Keller and the beautiful white floral arrangement that seems to pour from the entrance of St. George’s Chapel. However, it wasn’t all rosy, with Meghan’s father selling staged photos of himself before the wedding, her half-siblings bad-mouthing her to the press and Meghan’s decision to uninvited him. We look back on what went down…



From 2018:

How daunting it must be, how utterly frightening it must be to be parachuted into a life that is completely alien to the world in which you have grown up in. A new country, a new culture, a strange title, an institution she knows little about, a tricky family situation, a press pack that is forensically examining her every move, and the small matter of a Royal Wedding to attend with millions watching, ready to pick apart her looks, analyse her reactions, and comment upon her every move. I don’t envy Meghan Markle even a little.

Strong and confident

Of course, Meghan doesn’t come across as any shrinking violet. From what we’ve seen of the so-called feminist Princess, she has exuded confidence and warmth. Besides, she can’t help who she falls in love with. There is also no doubt that becoming the wife of a Prince is not without privilege.

We can assume, given Meghan’s determination to ‘make it,’ along with her passion for the spotlight, that she is not oblivious nor adverse to the positives that she can enjoy by sharing her life with Harry.

Being a little different is a breath of fresh air for an institution such as the Monarchy.  If Harry had decided to marry another ‘Kate,’ we would have been mercilessly comparing their beige pumps and dutiful speeches. Meghan is divorced, she has dual heritage and a very colourful family background. She reportedly gives hugs around Kensington Palace telling people happily, ‘I’m American, I hug’. She broke Royal protocol by affectionately holding Harry’s hand at a walkabout in Bristol recently, and went off script at the Royal Foundation Forum during her first appearance as a foursome alongside Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and we loved her for it. Even her body language was refreshing and passionate as she spoke out saying; “Women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice, they need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen. I think right now in the climate where we are seeing so many campaigns like #MeToo and Time’s Up, there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them…and that makes such a tremendous difference.”

Sold out

But Meghan’s wide American smile hides a vulnerability. It is this self-conscious streak that makes her more relatable than Princess Proper, Kate. She’s done sexy photo shoots, she is part of the glamorous Hollywood set (after her rise to fame in the TV show, Suits) and as we’ve seen this week, her extended family have simultaneously sold her out and let her down. Her father is reported to have staged photos showing him getting measured for his wedding suit by a fake tailor. He organised photos to be released of himself working out and at an internet cafe looking at pictures of Harry and his daughter, apparently to paint him in a better life. Thomas Markle Sr. lives a quiet life in Mexico – far from the pomp and ceremony thousands of miles away that he could have been catapulted into. In fact, the furore prompted Mr Marke to announce that he was no longer going to walk his daughter down the aisle. Meghan’s half-sister is writing a book referring to Meghan as Princess Pushy and her half-brother wrote to Harry telling him he is making the biggest mistake in Royal History by marrying someone like Meghan. Bear in mind that this is her wedding week. Her Royal Wedding. To a Prince. In front of millions. Nobody deserves that.

The saddest part of all of this is that Meghan and her dad always had a special bond. Friends say that from the day she was born, Meghan was his princess.

A Royal Revolution

It also begs the question; what drama is coming next and does this fiasco damage the Monarchy? I think most people would feel bad for the future Duchess of Sussex (It is believed this will be the title Meghan will be given by the Queen). Having a pain in the ass family is not uncommon, but to see the family drama play out against the ultra-conservative background of the Crown jolts a little more. We live in a more forgiving time with people’s lives much more accessible through social media and there’s no doubt that the charm and sparkle that Harry and Meghan give off looks set to corner the millennial market. This new couple represents a new departure from the traditional Monarchy. They have their finger on the pulse and don’t seem shy about speaking their mind. Despite their wildly different backgrounds and today’s fearsomely grand wedding ceremony, let’s hope this dynamic duo get the fairytale they deserve. The world is now waiting to see exactly what happens next…